Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
And the champ is OK with that. Henderson, who took a split decision from Edgar and retained his title, told MMAFighting.com's Ariel Helwani on Monday edition of "The MMA Hour" that he doesn't mind people disagreeing with his views.
"I don't begrudge anyone their opinion if they had it for Frankie," he said. "It doesn't bother me, that's cool with me. I'm glad the three guys who were judging it had it for me."
That's not to say, though, that Henderson feels he didn't win the fight.
"I definitely felt I did enough to earn the decision," said Henderson. "I definitely won, yeah. Deep down in my heart of heart, I felt I won decision. Of course going into any decision in MMA, you have to be nervous, you have to be a little bit worried. Decisions are historically an iffy thing. I for sure felt I did enough to get that W and earn my hand being raised.
As other fighters have found, rematching Edgar is a daunting prospect. Henderson admitted Monday that he didn't feel like he was able to put on his best performance in the Octagon.
"I felt I didn't push the pace enough," he said. "[That is] the one thing I should have done more of. I didn't get tired at all, I didn't gas, I didn't have that muscular fatigue where I was worn down and tired. I felt like I could have pushed the pace a lot more. But I did not for whatever reason. I can't say it was all me. It wasn't like I didn't do my job, I didn't do this and I didn't do that. Obviously a big part of it goes to Frankie, he did a great job, not allowing me to do what I wanted to do. I wanted to go down there and beat him up really bad and everything. Its not just about me in there, there's another guy in there. You gotta take your hats off to Frankie, he's a tough fighter, one of the best fighters ever in rematches."
Coming out of the fight, the hottest topic of conversation, aside from the decision itself, is whether the undersized Edgar should move down to featherweight. Henderson sees it as a matter of semantics, depending on how one words the question.
"Some guys think Frankie ‘needs' to go down to 145," he said. "Frankie doesn't ‘need' to go down to 145, not at all. As far as, ‘should' Frankie Edgar drop down to 145? That one I have a harder time with. ‘Should' he? I don't necessarily feel like he should go down to 145. Would it be more advantageous for him career-wise to go down to 145? Maybe. He was the beltholder at 155 for awhile, maybe he'd be a beltholder for a longer time and some of his fights wouldn't be as hard on his body.
"In the long run, fighters have very short careers, I don't know how old he is, how much longer he'll end up fighting or intend on fighting, but, maybe for the sake of his body and being as healthy as possible, maybe fighting smaller guys will lengthen his career, and make the quality of his career he has left that much better for fighting 145ers vs. 155ers. But who am I to say?"
With that, Henderson turns his attention to his next opponent, Nate Diaz. Henderson feels that having his next opponent lined up right off the bat will work to his advantage.
"Knowing your next opponent, knowing who's next for me, is a good thing I think," A lot of times champs have to sit down and wait to see, ‘oh, we have to wait and see who's next for [Georges] St. Pierre or ‘he's dominated the whole division and we have to see who's next for him.' For me, 55 is stacked, it is stacked full of killers out there, so its nice for me to know who I'm going to fight next.
"I know Nate Diaz is next. As far as how to beat him, I think any time a fighter, sometimes a fighter loses, there's a game plan on how to beat him. Sometimes, there was a fluke head kick in the first 30 seconds of the fight, it's a fluke head kick ... sometimes it happens. Sometimes when guys lose there's a blueprint on how to beat him. If you want to beat a guy, all you gotta do is A-B-C. Against Nate Diaz, that blueprint is out there."
Finally, Henderson has a message for fans who don't think, despite going on an unparalleled lightweight run in winning 15 of his past 16 fights, that he should be considered the true champion.
"It doesn't bother me at all," he said. "No. There are people out there who still think Michael Jordan wasn't the greatest basketball player ever. There are people out there who think the New England Patriots shouldn't have won this Super Bowl because of this rule. There are a lot of people out there who think the New York Giants suck and they should have never won the Super Bowl. There are people out there with all sorts of opinions and ideas. I don't begrudge anyone their opinions, you can think differently than me, it's OK. I'm cool with that. We don't have to see eye to eye on everything."
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