Former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson isn’t growing out his hair until he loses a fight. Or until he wins the belt back.
Instead, it’s one person who is controlling how long “Smooth’s” locks get.
“It can’t be cut for a little while,” said Henderson, during a recent interview on UFC Tonight. “The wife doesn’t want it cut.”
Henderson returns to action Saturday against Rafael dos Anjos in the main event of UFC Fight Night 49. He will put his two-fight win streak on the line in the main event, which is his seventh straight headline bout.
Since suffering a first round submission loss to Anthony Pettis for the title last year, Henderson has scored wins over Rustam Khabilov and Josh Thomson. His most recent win came via submission in the fourth round.
“(Dos Anjos is) most dangerous in his stand-up game. He’s been known for his Brazilian jiu-jitsu,” Henderson said. “But he’s been working on his striking and part of his late career resurgence has been because of his stand-up. He’s very accurate and dangerous and has power in his hands.”
Despite scoring a finish over Khabilov, Henderson has continually had to answer critics about his lack of stoppage victories. He earned split decisions over Thomson, Gilbert Melendez and Frankie Edgar, earning decisions over Nate Diaz, Edgar, Clay Guida, Jim Miller and Mark Bocek.
“I’m going after a great performance,” he said. “If I get a submission or knockout, or if a guy slips on a banana peel, I’ll take it. It’s all about having a good performance and getting your hand raised.”
Daniel Cormier broke some insider news himself on “UFC Tonight” Wednesday evening, reporting that his American Kickboxing Academy teammate Luke Rockhold might have a fight lined up.
Rockhold, a former Strikeforce champion, is in discussion to face Lyoto Machida, possibly at UFC on FOX 13 in December. That card was announced, but no fights have been set for it so far.
“This fight is being discussed,” Cormier said. “Both guys are open to it. I’d like to propose they fight on UFC on FOX in Phoenix or the pay-per-view with (Chris) Weidman and (Vitor) Belfort.”
Rockhold (12-2) has made mention of being ready to fill-in for Belfort should the top contender not make it to December and his title fight with Weidman. Machida (21-5) lost to Weidman earlier this year, dropping to 13-5 inside the Octagon.
Since falling to Belfort in Brazil last year, Rockhold has downed both Costas Philippou and Tim Boetsch.
Michael Bisping isn’t afraid to say exactly what he feels.
As “The Count” prepares to meet Cung Le this Saturday from China at UFC Fight Night 48, he knows that nothing short of a win will be enough.
After returning from an eye injury that left him sidelined for a year, Bisping (24-6) lost to Tim Kennedy in April. He has alternated wins and losses in each of his last five fights since a four-bout win streak over 2010-11.
“This is a must-win fight for me. I have to prove to the UFC, I have to prove to the fans, and I have to prove to myself that I’m still an elite fighter who can go on, get some wins over contenders, and fight for the UFC title,” he said. “My last fight against Tim Kennedy sucked; it was the worst performance of my life. Kennedy had a gameplan to hold me down and he executed that gameplan well.
Despite initially feeling ready for action, the Brit now believes he made a critical mistake taking the fight vs. Kennedy in the first place.
“In hindsight, I should never have accepted a fight just seven weeks after getting cleared to return to the gym after my eye injury,” Bisping said. “Yes, I was anxious to get back in there and earn my first paycheck in over a year but, with hindsight, I needed several months in the gym getting rid of ringrust. Instead, I made a huge mistake in taking on a wrestler like Kennedy without putting the work in – and I paid for it.”
Since turning pro in 2004, Bisping has avoided falling victim to a losing streak, and he isn’t about to let the former Strikeforce champion Le become the first to do such a thing.
“I’ve been fighting high-level competition for the last six, seven years,” he stated. “But I don’t want to be one of the guys in the Top-10 who wins a few and loses a few. I want to be No. 1 and I want to fight for the UFC title.
“My back is against the wall in terms of making that happen. I need to win to prove that I’m not just some fighter with a name who is fighting here and there for paydays.”
As for Le in general, Bisping knows he’ll be facing a different style fighter than Kennedy, Alan Belcher or many others he’s battled along the way. There is one area he feels an advantage will hold true in his corner.
“He’s got good power, he’s a great striker if he can keep it long (at a distance) but he’s got nothing against the cage,” he said. “He’s got no stamina, either. But he’s very dangerous if you let him do what he does best.”
Former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre showed that his knees are getting stronger after surgery, taking part in the ever-growing “Ice Bucket Challenge” for ALS recently.
GSP, who tore his ACL earlier this year and had surgery, remains away from MMA and the UFC since announcing his self-imposed “retirement.”
Unlike many who do the challenge, St-Pierre also made sure to point out the important part – donating. In accepting, he sent out a challenge of his own to Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Eugenie Bouchard.
Check out GSP’s ice-filled challenge below:
Former Bellator lightweight champions Michael Chandler and Eddie Alvarez will have to leave their rivalry tied up for the moment.
Alvarez was allowed out of his Bellator contract Tuesday and signed a deal with the UFC shortly after. He’ll make his debut next month against Donald Cerrone.
Chandler, meanwhile, remains in the promotion and in pursuit of the title he once held. After losing the belt to Alvarez last year, the two were scheduled for a rematch.
However, Alvarez suffered an injury and Will Brooks fought Chandler instead for the interim title. Brooks scored a decision victory that night to claim the belt.
With Alvarez heading off to the Octagon, Chandler sent him a message on Twitter, to which his biggest rival responded:
@MikeChandlerMMA I feel the same brother , brought the best outta each other , ill save the date 4 the future Go get that belt back ! Ousss
— Edward Alvarez (@Ealvarezfight) August 20, 2014