Chandler: Henderson ‘Not a Go-Getter’
Many wondered what would happen if Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler and then-UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson collided. But with cross-promotional bouts not really a thing, the bout seemed like it would never come to be once Henderson dropped the title to Anthony Pettis but continued in the UFC.
"A lot of people were talking about me and him fighting," Chandler told MMAjunkie Radio. "He was ranked No. 1 in the world; I was ranked top three, top five in the world. Everybody wanted that match-up."
But now, a chance for that fight to become a reality occurred when Henderson opted out of his UFC contract and joined Bellator, where Chandler has made a name for himself. And the fight between the two will have happen on Saturday night at Bellator 165, as Henderson challenges Chandler for the Bellator lightweight title.
Chandler, however, says the Henderson he is facing is not the same guy who won the WEC lightweight title when Chandler was just two months into pro MMA, nor is it the same Henderson who was lightweight champion at the same time Chandler was in his first Bellator title reign.
"To me, Benson’s looking a little bit weathered these days," Chandler said. "His striking is pedestrian. He’s not a go-getter any more."
Chandler claims he doesn’t say it to belittle Henderson, as he does respect him and hates to give negative press; however, it has to do with a lack of hustle he’s seen in the former WEC and UFC champion, who has said retirement might be coming sooner than later.
"He used to be in big-time exciting fights, put hands on people," Chandler said. "He just looks timid; he looks like he’s afraid to pull the trigger, and I’m the kind of guy that’s got my foot on the gas at all times in a fight. I’m excited to go out there and finish him."