UFC 144 Fight Card Primer: Frankie Edgar Vs. Ben Henderson

Frankie Edgar and Benson Henderson square off at the UFC 144 pre-fight press conference on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012 in Tokyo. Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

In the main event of UFC 144, reigning UFC Lightweight champion Frankie Edgar (14-1-1; 9-1-1 UFC) puts his belt on the line as he faces former WEC champion Ben Henderson (15-2; 3-0 UFC). This will be Edgar's 4th defense of the belt. Edgar is the #1 ranked Lightweight in the world in the USA TODAY / MMA Nation Consensus MMA Rankings, and Henderson is just a few spots below him at #4. The PPV card begins this Saturday, February 25 at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT, and will run for 4 hours on PPV.

It was a complicated road that brought us to Henderson vs. Edgar, with a number of possible contenders eliminated along the way. While Edgar completed his trilogy with Gray Maynard, men like Anthony Pettis, Clay Guida and Jim Miller all rose to near contender status, then were knocked aside. And often, the one who knocked them away was Ben Henderson. Though still a relative newcomer to the UFC, Henderson has looked tremendous in his last two fights, leaving fans salivating for what promises to be a supremely technical and high paced match-up.

How do these two stack up?

Edgar: 30 years old | 5'6" | 68" reach
Henderson: 28 years old | 5'9" | 70" reach

What have these two done recently?

Edgar: W - Gray Maynard (KO) | Draw - Gray Maynard | W - B.J. Penn (UD)
Henderson: W - Clay Guida (UD) | W - Jim Miller (UD) | W - Mark Bocek (UD)

How did these two get here?

Frankie "The Answer" Edgar comes in as the defending champion, undefeated in nearly 4 years, and with only one blemish on his career. Yet many fans still view him as vulnerable. There are a lot of possible criticisms of Edgar - he's undersized for the division; he hasn't faced anyone but Penn and Maynard in ages; he should have lost the belt to Maynard (twice?). Yet for all those faults, Edgar keeps finding a way to win. With his speed, boxing, and wrestling, he has ultimately defeated every man who has crossed his path. He's coming off the two amazing 2011 fights with Gray Maynard - both among the best fights the UFC Lightweight division has ever produced. Can his big run continue here?

Ben (or Benson) "Smooth" Henderson came into the UFC as a bit of an afterthought. For the last year of the WEC's existence, he ruled over their Lightweight division, winning great battles against Jamie Varner and Donald Cerrone. But in the last ever WEC fight, he was on the losing end of Anthony Pettis and his Showtime kick, costing him valuable momentum. He came back with a win over Bocek, but it was his upset win over Jim Miller that really turned heads. Following that up with the win over Clay Guida, Henderson proved that, despite the Pettis loss, he is the dominant fighter to emerge from the WEC Lightweight division.

Why should you care?

These two are responsible for fight of the year candidates on multiple occasions, and this one should be no different. It's super evenly matched, both men are tenacious and comfortable in all areas of the game... seriously, this fight is going to be incredible.

More UFC 144 preview coverage from Bloody Elbow after the jump.

SBN coverage of UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson

UFC 144 Judo Chop: The Striking Defense of Mark Hunt - Fraser Coffeen

UFC 144: Rampage Jackson Misses Weight By Five Pounds, Loses 20% Of Purse While Fight Goes On - Brent Brookhouse

UFC 144 Weigh-In Video And Coverage - Tim Burke

UFC 144: Anthony Pettis Vs. Joe Lauzon Dissection - Dallas Winston

UFC 144: The Bloody Elbow Judo Chops Of Frankie Edgar Vs. Ben Henderson - Fraser Coffeen

UFC 144: Edgar Vs. Henderson Staff Predictions - Tim Burke

UFC 144: Jake Shields Wants UFC To Make Sure Yoshihiro Akiyama Doesn't Cheat - Brent Brookhouse

UFC 144: Yushin Okami Vs. Tim Boetsch Dissection - Dallas Winston

UFC 144 Video: Dana White Video Blog Episode 2 - Kid Nate

UFC 144: Rampage Jackson On The Streets Of Tokyo - Kid Nate

UFC 144: Dana White Wants You To Know The UFC Didn't Kill PRIDE - Brent Brookhouse

UFC 144: The Epic Drama Of Yoshihiro Akiyama - Fraser Coffeen

UFC 144: Is Frankie Edgar Being Underrated Against Ben Henderson? - Fraser Coffeen

UFC 144: Hatsu Hioki Vs. Bart Palaszewski Dissection - Dallas Winston

UFC 144 Roundtable: Can The UFC Succeed In Japan? - Tim Burke

UFC 144 Predictions: Pros Slightly Favor Frankie Edgar To Beat Ben Henderson - Brent Brookhouse

UFC 144: Takanori Gomi Vs. Eiji Mitsuoka Dissection - Dallas Winston

UFC 144 Judo Chop: Benson Henderson And The Miracle of Survival Part 2 of 2 - Ben Thapa

UFC 144 Video: Under PRIDE Rules, Rampage Jackson Dominates Fight Against Ryan Bader - Anton Tabuena

UFC 144 Video: Frankie Edgar vs. Ben Henderson Fight Simulation And Prediction - Anton Tabuena

UFC 144 Pre-Fight Press Conference Video - Tim Burke

UFC 144: Yoshihiro Akiyama Leads The UFC Back To Japan - Kid Nate

UFC 144: Should The Winner Of Joe Lauzon Vs. Anthony Pettis Get The Next Title Shot? - Brent Brookhouse

UFC 144: Norifumi 'Kid' Yamamoto Vs. Vaughan Lee Dissection - Dallas Winston

UFC 144: Riki Fukuda Vs. Steve Cantwell Dissection - Dallas Winston

UFC 144 Judo Chop: Benson Henderson And The Miracle Of Survival Part 1 of 2 - Ben Thapa

UFC 144: Edgar Vs. Henderson Countdown Show Full Video - Anton Tabuena

UFC 144: Edgar Vs. Henderson Betting Lines - Tim Burke

UFC 144: Rampage Jackson Is A Death Sentence For Ryan Bader According To Michael Bisping - Brent Brookhouse

UFC 144 Manga-Style Promo Video - Kid Nate

UFC 144: Takeya Mizugaki Vs. Chris Cariaso Dissection - Dallas Winston

UFC 144: Tiequan Zhang Vs. Issei Tamura Dissection - Dallas Winston

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