Benson Henderson earned his black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu shortly before he faced Anthony Pettis at UFC 164. Henderson was sporting that black belt as he made his way to the Octagon that night. If Henderson wore his black belt to intimidate or gain some psychological advantage over Pettis, his logic was faulty. Pettis, a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu got the best of Henderson, forcing the black belt to verbally tap to an armbar at the 4:31 mark of Round One.
It was almost as if Pettis (17-2) said to himself, ‘alright I see what you're doing, and it's not going to work out the way you think it is." The verbal submission gave Pettis the victory and something he has craved for a long while, the UFC lightweight title.
Pettis had originally been booked to defend his belt against T.J. Grant at UFC 166, but lingering concussion issues have forced Grant to bow out of that fight. The UFC has elected to give former Strikeforce champion Josh Thomson a shot at Pettis.
Thomson has been looking for a fight with Pettis since defeating Diaz, since before Pettis faced Henderson at UFC 164. That fact is not lost on Pettis who told Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour:
He was calling me out before the Henderson fight, so I think he really wants the title fight bad and I'm not going to take it easy on him. I'm going to finish him just like I've been finishing everybody else. My goal is to knock you out in the first round. I want to finish all of the guys in the first round. That's what I'm shooting for. I want to finish every fight. I don't want anybody going past five minutes with me.
Now that Thomson got what he was calling for in July, a fight with Pettis, we'll see if Pettis can add to Thomson to his growing list of first round stoppage wins. Pettis is currently at three in a row in that department. Before the Henderson victory, Pettis TKO'd Donald Cerrone, and knocked out Joe Lauzon in the first round.
Pettis will defend his title against Thomson in the main event of UFC on Fox 9. UFC on Fox 9 will take place on December 14 from the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, California.
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