It’s been a long time coming. Benson Henderson has wanted payback over Anthony Pettis since that kick. Pettis has sought Henderson’s belt for almost as long. Now they will finally meet in the octagon to settle this. Al Dannity previews the main of UFC 164.
The kick announced him but he never wanted it to define him. When Anthony Pettis scrambled up the cage, like something out of the Matrix, and delivered a right foot to Benson Henderson’s face it brought the fighter global attention. Pettis took Henderson’s WEC title that night and was in line for a shot at then UFC champion Frankie Edgar but fate got in the way. Edgar had to fight Gray Maynard a second time. While waiting for his shot, Pettis lost it. A defeat at the hands of Clay Guida cost him a chance at Edgar. A few short months later it was Henderson who would rise up. He beat Guida and then took Edgar’s title. Henderson took his re-match with Edgar and knocked off Nate Diaz and Gilbert Melendez to cement his position at the top of the lightweight ladder.
All the while Pettis was trying to get another shot. He didn’t care if it was featherweight or lightweight, Pettis just wanted an opportunity to hear the words ‘and new UFC champion’. Three straight wins, nearly three years of waiting. It’s finally over. This time fate has smiled on the challenger. TJ Grant was meant to fight Henderson but pulled out injured. A slot opened up and no-one was going to jump Pettis this time.
Bendo is used to going the distance. He’s gone the full five rounds seven times in his career, including each of his last four fights. Pettis won’t want to hang around. His first round victories over Joe Lauzon and Donald Cerrone point to a man hungry to finish this early. Henderson wants revenge, Pettis wants to prove he’s more than one kick. Every time he steps in the octagon, irrespective of the Knockout of the Night honours he wins, Pettis is haunted by fans wondering if the kick was a one off. Did he catch Henderson on an off day? Was he just lucky? They say to be the man you gotta beat the man. Well in Pettis’ case, he’s got to do it twice. The first time around he introduced his fury to the world. On Saturday night he can do the same with his greatness. I like Pettis to win in 3.