Getting a championship belt is a great accomplishment, but for new WEC lightweight titleholder Ben Henderson, he still has goals he’s yet to achieve. It’s not just about winning the belt for him, he wants to be the best in the world and that requires facing the best in the world.
2009 marked a meteoric rise for Henderson, who made his WEC debut and won the interim 155-pound belt in the span of 12 month. Just a week ago, Henderson submitted Jamie Varner to unify the WEC titles and is now ready to defend that belt for the first time.
There has been a lot of speculation already about who Henderson might face for his first title defense. Of course, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone rockets to the top of that list, after the bout he and Henderson had last year that most considered to be the best fight for all of 2009. The new champion is ready to face all challengers, but hopes that there is new blood on the horizon.
“Absolutely nothing against Cowboy (Donald Cerrone), nothing against Shane Roller, nothing against Anthony Njokuani, those are kind of the top guys right now in the WEC at 55. Nothing against any of those guys, they’re all tough guys. I’m sure they’re all better than when I faced them, but yeah I would definitely like to fight other guys,” Henderson told MMAWeekly Radio recently.
It’s an issue the WEC is sure to address over the coming months considering that every fighter from Cerrone to Njokuanki, Henderson has faced and beaten. He’s is open to a rematch with any of them, but still wants to face new opponents as well.
“I don’t really want to have to round-robin fight everyone I had to fight on my way to the top, have to fight all those guys all over again,” Henderson commented. “I would like to see some new faces, some good top talent or whatever.”
There have been several rumors floating around about who might fight who, or who will get a shot at Henderson’s title. The champion has heard the same rumors, and is just waiting for the dust to settle on a No. 1 contender.
“From what I’ve heard it’s going to be Varner, or Cerrone, or Njokuani, or Roller, four of those guys fighting amongst each other to see who the next No. 1 contender is,” he said. “Cause all of those guys have a pretty strong case for it.”
It’s clear though that the work for Ben Henderson is far from over, and he’s ready to prove it time and time again.
“I want to be the best in the world and I want to fight the best in the world,” Henderson stated. “Doesn’t matter who it’s against.”