Just In Benson Henderson will beat 10 people for lightweight belt, or face winner of ‘Pitbull’ vs. Chandler MMA Life

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SAN JOSE, Calif. – Whether Benson Henderson gets a title shot in his next fight or has to fight his way through the entire lightweight roster, he’s confident a belt is in his future.

“If I beat six, seven, eight, nine, 10 people to get the belt around my waist, fine by me,” he told reporters, including MMA Junkie after a split decision over Adam Piccolotti (11-3 MMA, 7-3 BMMA) at this past Saturday’s Bellator 220 in San Jose, Calif. “No problem. I’ll beat the entire roster on the way to getting the belt around my waist.

“And then I’ll get the belt around my waist and be like, ‘Oh, who are you going to face now? You’ve beaten everyone else.’ That’s your guys’ problem.”

Henderson (27-8 MMA, 4-3 BMMA) was in a good mood despite a split-decision win that started out rough. Piccolotti outgrappled the ex-champ in early exchanges and threatened chokes at several points. Those setbacks only motivated Henderson to battle back.

“I went after him,” he said. “I was a little bit mad, and I was a little bit upset. When guys go for submissions, or when guys are in a better position than you, that makes me upset.”

And yet Henderson loves to be in a place where he’s got a target on his back. In the cage or in the gym, he likes being the guy others think they can take down, and then proving them wrong.

“You shouldn’t even be in that position in the first place,” he said. “I’m better than that.”

After failing to put Henderson away, Piccolotti noticeably tired in the second and third rounds and wasn’t able to push the action. Judging by the reaction at the SAP Center, more than a few people still thought the young upstart had done enough. Two scores disagreed with that, but Henderson appreciated the buzz in the arena.

“I do love being a part of good fights and having fans engage,” he said. “I love giving all of myself to the fans, and I love have that appreciation back. I don’t do this so no one watches or appreciates it, like, cool. I do this so fans (will say), ‘That’s a great fight.’ I’m glad that the fans loved it.”

In an ideal world, Henderson hopes his next fight will pit him against the winner of a Bellator 221 headliner between lightweight champ Michael Chandler and featherweight champ Patricio “Pitbull” Freire. Chandler handed Henderson a split-decision loss almost three years ago. Henderson wants to avenge that and win another major MMA title in the process.

“But if not, whoever,” he said. “If they want to give me somebody else, no problem. … It doesn’t matter whether I beat them up before I have the belt, or after I get the belt. I’m getting the belt around my waist. ”

For complete coverage of Bellator 220, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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