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SportsMixed Martial Arts

Ben Henderson on a champion's life

Ben Henderson reacts to winning his lightweight match

Ben Henderson reacts to winning his lightweight match against Clay Guida during UFC on Fox 1 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. (Nov. 12, 2011) Credit: MCT

One of the things I find interesting about new champions is hearing how their lives have changed since winning the belt. What's is obviously different? What have you seen change over time?

Here's what UFC lightweight champion Ben Henderson had to say when that topic came up on the UFC 150 conference call heading into his first title defense against Frankie Edgar:

"It is great. No complaints. But yes, you’re right. As far as time wise, time management, it has been kind of rough. At one point, a time after I won the belt, I wasn’t home for, like, six weekends in a row. I had to go do different functions, different things. And I mean, it doesn’t sound that bad but it was kind of terrible leaving on Friday, not coming home until Sunday.

"And then just traveling makes you tired. I’m not the best traveler. So it’s just been a little bit of an adjustment getting used to that. Once the fight gets closer and everything, I’ve got to tell the UFC, got to tell everybody else, my managers, like, 'Hey, I’m done traveling. I just want to train now. I want to get back in the gym.' I like being in the gym anyway.

"That’s been the biggest difference for me. After I won the belt, obviously a bunch of new guys showed up at our gym to come over and want to share with us at MMA Lab in Glendale, Arizona. So it’s been cool. It’s been fun. You get to see a lot of different people. They all want to come out and train together so that’s always cool, so it’s nice to feel that."

And about his fighting mentality now that's he trying to hold on to the belt rather than take it from someone else?

"I'm going to very much try and not change my mentality. I think it's very hard for guys after they win the belt to try and change up and all of a sudden they start fighting to not lose rather than fighting to win. I would like to maintain my fight style. I'd like to be aggressive out there the entire time. I'd do the same as I've always done."

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