Ben Henderson is moving up to welterweight on short notice as he takes on Brandon Thatch next weekend. According to the former UFC lightweight champion, he believes he will be able to perform better after not having to cut much weight, but is also quick to say that the move will not be permanent.
Here's what he said during an appearance at AXS TV:
"At 170, I'm definitely losing a lot of strength, a lot of size. But on the 'pro' side, I'll be gaining a lot of speed, a little of quickness, agility, and a little of athleticism."
"Also, cardio is king. The bigger the size you go on weightclasses, these guys will tire out more quickly. Hopefully we put pressure on guys and keep them tired when they can't even put their hands up eventually on the 4th and 5th rounds."
"It's definitely not permanent. Moving up to 170 is more of a one-time thing. I've asked to move to 170, and I've asked to do short-notice fights."
"Me going to 170 is -- boom! -- I'll be explosive."
Benson also spoke more about the switch with MMA Fighting:
"It was a pretty good opportunity. I have been thinking about the idea, open to the idea of going to 170. It had to be the right match-up at the right time, all that sort of stuff. We thought this one was a good match-up, good timing, I'm still in shape. I'm in-shape all the time, but being so close to the last fight, I'm feeling pretty good (with my) cardio, so we thought let's do it, let's go for it."
"I am very, very excited about that," Henderson said with a laugh. "To be able to train and compete and do everything, and not have to worry about, not have to stress about, not have to physically go through the drastic cutting of your calories, the drastic losing of water weight, you have no idea how excited I am for that."