PHOENIX — Benson Henderson says he asked Scott Coker for an opponent who would get him closest to a title shot.
Despite dropping three in a row, the former WEC and UFC lightweight champion Henderson (28-11 MMA, 5-6 BMMA) hasn’t given up on his hopes of adding another belt to his collection.
Henderson will make a quick turnaround after losing to Brent Primus in October when he meets Islam Mamedov (20-1-1 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) in Saturday’s Bellator 273 co-main event. It is a difficult exit that he asked for.
“I asked them point-blank, ‘Hey, what should I do?’ I know three straight losses doesn’t sound good,” Henderson told reporters, including MMA Junkie, during Wednesday’s Bellator 273 media day in Phoenix. “We’re at 170 (instead of lightweight) – that’s what it is. But three losses in a row doesn’t look good. But what do I do? What’s the way? fastest to get back to a title shot? Sure, I’m biased in my own opinion, but I feel like I’m still the best lightweight in the world. How can I go back and prove it? I have a chance to prove it?And they rejected the name of Islam.
Henderson will face another strong grappler in Mamedov, who hasn’t lost since dropping his second pro fight. Henderson, a two-time Bellator title challenger, hopes his willingness to take on all comers will ease his path to another shot at the lightweight belt.
“They said this guy is on a 19-game winning streak. He just beat the guy who beat you, Brent Primus, and nobody else can fight him,” Henderson said. “They couldn’t have anyone. Everyone says no to Islam. So yes, sign me up. I am your blueberry. If Islam is the guy who, if I beat him, I’m much faster, faster for a title then absolutely. I completely agree.
Bellator 273 takes place on Saturday at the Footprint Center. The main card airs on Showtime after the preliminaries on MMA Junkie.