Ben Henderson now knows who he'll be facing next, and apparently it was a bit of a surprise to him. Henderson joined Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour to talk about T.J. Grant's surprising win over Gray Maynard at UFC 160, how people are gameplanning against him, fighting on Fox, and a bunch of other stuff. First, he started off by airing his surprise at Grant winning :
"I won't lie, I am a little bit surprised.I think most people had Gray winning, most people picked Gray to win. Not only did T.J. prove everybody wrong, but the manner and the fashion in which he did it, pretty impressive performance for him."
"I was already kind of mentally preparing for [Maynard]," Henderson said. "And now I've got a new guy to mentally prepare for.
"I don't know a whole lot about T.J., to be honest. I know he's, what, 5-0 at 155 now. He used to be a '70 pounder. From what I've seen of him, just the little promos and hype and stuff, doesn't seem too flashy but just one of those guys, a grinder, good fundamentals, solid. It's going to be my job to learn all about him the next month or so."
He last fought at UFC on Fox 7, where he eked out a razor-thin split decision win over Gilbert Melendez. He talked about Gil's gameplan in the fight, and what he'll probably see from future opponents:
"I think a lot of it is stylistic match-ups. Actually what's going to happen, I think, sadly, is that a lot of guys, they're going to do the Frankie Edgar gameplan. We thought that Gilbert was going to be super aggressive, like hyper aggressive -- come out and go get me, and be after me the entire time. But if you watch the fight, he was a lot more elusive. He was bouncing around, kind of waited for his shots.
"We think, actually, a lot of our fights are sadly going to be that way because guys are going to see, as far as gameplan-wise, how to beat us."
He was asked about defending his title on Fox twice in a row, and being rumored to be facing Grant on the first UFC card of UFC Fox Sports 1. He actually said that he gets PPV points on his contract, but he's fine with fighting on TV:
"I feel secure as a UFC champ. I think I get the same recognition. Obviously, St.Pierre and Dana White and Lorenzo (Fertitta) asked me, ‘Hey, do you mind fighting on this FOX card?' ‘I would love it. No problem.' In my contract I do have pay-per-view points, but when I fight for FOX and those guys, they want me on there to be an ambassador for the sport. I have no problem with that., those guys ... we're talking about guys who've kind of crossed that mainstream. Maybe I haven't crossed the mainstream yet. It's cool with me. Whatever, I don't necessarily fight just for money. I've proven that a bunch of times, choosing not to fight on pay-per-views.
"I actually love fighting on a bigger stage. I love having a bigger audience, a broader audience besides just the core demographic of males 18-34. ... The last fight, what was it? 5.5 million people? You can't beat that, that kind of a stage, that kind of an audience. FOX Sports 1, you know how big of a deal FOX is going to make that? FOX is going to promote the crap out of that. It's going to be a huge stage. It's going to be ginormous, so I would love to fight on the card."
He definitely knows how to say the right things. While being on TV does allow you to be seen by more fans, giving up PPV money must be a hard decision to make. Even on the low end of the PPV-buy spectrum, that's a serious chunk of cash. Anyway, Dana White said he'd announce the FS 1 main event soon, and it might very well be Henderson vs. Grant.