Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
The UFC called 2013 the year of the superfight, and now lightweight champion Benson Henderson has thrown his name into the discussion.
Henderson intends to request a blockbuster match-up against UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre following his upcoming title defense against Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez on April 20, 2013 at UFC on FOX 7. UFC Tonight first reported the news.
"My main focus is on defending my title against Gilbert Melendez on April 20," Henderson told MMAFighting.com in a statement. "That's it. But I am a fan of the sport on top of being a competitor. I see all this talk about super fights and other fighters getting to dictate what weight classes they want to move up and down to in order to get title shots. I'm the UFC's lightweight champion and I feel I should be allowed to make such statements myself.
"I want to fight in the biggest fights and against the best fighters," he continued. "Georges St. Pierre is one of the greatest fighters in our sport's history. Of course I'd love to fight him, and I think the fans would want to see that fight too. It would be an honor to go up against such a great competitor, especially with a title on the line.
"However, I need to beat Gilbert Melendez first before I can actually start thinking about any other fights, no matter who the opponent is. It's going to be a tough battle and I need to stay 100-percent focused on him during my training for the next two months."
UFC president Dana White quickly shot down Henderson's plans on UFC Tonight.
"That's not going to happen. He won just that title not too long ago. There are plenty of guys in the 155 division to defend that title against, and a possible fight with Aldo if he moves up to 155... I don't blame Ben Henderson for wanting to go to 170 that's the big money fight," White said.
St-Pierre (23-2), the longtime ruler of the welterweight division, has thus far resisted a catchweight bout against UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, who is four inches taller and significantly heavier than the Canadian.
Henderson (18-2), while possessing a notable disadvantage in reach, is a large lightweight and much more comparable in size to St-Pierre.
Still just 29 years old, "Smooth" has compiled a 6-0 record inside the UFC and defended his title twice since gaining the belt, edging Frankie Edgar for a second time at UFC 150 and dominating Nate Diaz at UFC on FOX 5.
Latest From MMA Warehouse
- Cain Velasquez UFC 160 Walkout Shirt
- Vitor Belfort UFC on FX 8 Photo Shirt
- Vitor Belfort UFC on FX 8 Cornerman Shirt
- Chael Sonnen UFC 159 Walkout Shirt
- Henderson UFC on FOX 7 Walkout Shirt
- Nate Diaz UFC on FOX 7 Walkout Shirt
- GSP UFC 158 Walkout Shirt
- UFC Walkout Clothing
- More: MMA Clothing | MMA Gear | MMA Shorts | MMA Gloves | MMA Shirts