Benson Henderson talks his fight with Rustam Khabilov

Benson Henderson spoke to Submission Radio about his upcoming fight with Rustam Khabilov, not feeling the need to make statements in order to get another title shot, training to defend suplexes, the Sambo vs Jiu Jitsu Debate, Learning from his loss against Anthony Pettis, and more
Full interview-  (Starting at 21.5 minutes)

Interview highlights transcript:

On feeling the need to make a statement in his next fight to get another title shot

"No. I mean, for me to get a title I have to keep on winning. Period. It doesn't matter, you need to win. People get too caught up in 'Oh you gotta do this, oh you gotta do that, oh you gotta do that'. It doesn't matter. It really doesn't. You gotta go out there and win. First things first. You gotta go out there and get your hand raised."

"Does it help a little so to speak, you know, finishing fights? Of course, yeah. Obviously it helps to finish fights and make a statement and yadda, yadda, yadda, and that sort of stuff. But ultimately it comes down to winning. That's it."

If he's doing anything different to avoid Rustam's wrestling and suplexes

"No, not really. We have a lot of good wrestlers and we have a lot of tough wrestlers at my gym, so I've been going more with them."

On thinking he was originally fighting Khabib Numergomedov

"No, I didn't think I was fighting him. There was a guy on Twitter who said he wanted to fight me, I wasn't really paying that close attention, but my reply of course to everybody was 'Yeah sure. You wanna fight, let's do it.' Not many guys wanna fight me. I'm not the most easiest of fights you know, I haven't had a guy wanna fight me except for having the belt for a long, long time. So when he said 'oh yeah, I wanna fight somebody' I was like 'yeah sure, let's do it'. I did think it was Khabib, I didn't know it was, I saw like a Russian name and I wasn't really paying that much close attention. But then I found out it was not Khabib it was uh, yeh it was not Khabib, it was Rustam, and then the talks got more serious about when and where and all that stuff. At that point I knew it was Rustam, but initially for like the first five minutes I thought that the tweet that was sent over was from Khabib, but not from Rustam."

On Rustam Khabilov as a match-up and how tough he is

"Rustam's very tough man. We all know those Russians, they're very tough, you know they're known as a people as being tough, the stereotype so to speak. But he proves it inside the octagon as well. It's not just a stereotype for him, but it's fact. He's a tough kid."

"(He's been) working on his wrestling. His wrestling, his Sambo is his background (and) he's really good at it. So he's been at (Greg) Jackson's now for a while working on improving his overall game of course. His Boxing, his kickboxing, his overall game, working on everything, and he's getting better. He's shown improvement in every fight, so me knowing that, me knowing that Jackon's camp, Greg Jackon and how good that camp is, how good all those fighters are, I know he'll be a better fighter. This'll be the best Rustam Khabilov that the UFC has ever seen. So I'm preparing for my best and my best performance so that I can go five rounds, hard, and go out there and show up and show out."

On the Anthony Pettis fight and losing his Belt

"That made me sad of course, especially losing by an armbar. I was like 'oh really? An Armbar of all things....huh, interesting."

"It makes me wanna go out there and get better like I always do or go out there and improve, work on my game, know that even if I don't think that I have holes in my game like Jiu Jitsu. It's not a hole in my game, it's a strength. But that's where I got caught, so obviously it is a hole. I went back and to take a good look at myself and see where I needed to improve and see how I needed to get better. Even if you think it's your strength, well guess what, it can be the place where you'll lose at also. So that's what the Pettis fight did for me a lot."

On the Sambo vs Wrestling vs Jiu Jitsu debate

"For me, the whole Sambo versus Wrestling, versus Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, versus Judo, versus Taekwondo, versus Kung Fu, versus you know, anything, even any traditional form of martial arts, normally the better form is the individual who's better at it. It doesn't matter, you could be a white belt, beginner Sambo guy and go against a Blackbelt Jiu Jitsu guy, (and) probably the Sambo guy is gonna lose. And if you reverse it and have a beginner white belt or blue belt Jiu Jitsu guy going against a Sambo world champion, probably the Sambo guy is gonna win."

"Same thing for Kung Fu and Muay Thai or American style Boxing, like it depends on, so many people try to over generalize 'Oh kung Fu is better, Oh Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is better, Oh American wrestling is the best.' There is no BEST. It's the individual. Because we over generalize, we lose sight of the individual. It's the individual who makes what he does so good."

Best regards,
Denis Shkuratov
Submission Radio Australia

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