Found February 24, 2012 on hov-mma:

A Case for "The Answer", a case for "Smooth"

When asked who his favorite superhero was at the UFC 144 Presser, Henderson answered Clark Kent, Superman's alter ego. Frankie Edgar has been called "Iron Man" on account of his chin (FE is also the symbol for the chemical element Iron, which Edgar has featured on a t-shirt).

UFC Lightweight #1 Contender Benson Henderson's has made no secret about his penchant for comic books. As a lifelong fan of superheroes and villains myself, it's difficult not to see the comic book undertones of this incredible main event. The thing about this fight though is that there is no villain. So much for that take. So instead we'll make a case for each fighter. What will it take for "Super Smooth" to dethrone the three-time defending world champion. What does "Frankie Iron" have to do to break the current record of Lightweight title defense currently held by "The Prodigy". This article will resume after the break.

A case for Edgar:

How does Frankie Edgar win this fight? He wins it the same way he's won his last four fights. By defying all logic. The two consecutive dominant victories over the man many, including myself, still call the greatest Lightweight of all time.

Arguably even more impressive, he follows this up by coming back from the brink of unconsciousness twice against Gray Maynard. Edgar spent forty three minutes and fifty four seconds locked in the cage with a Bully during 2011. He finished "The Bully", the same man who knocked him down six times during these two fights, with an exclamation point KO. These two fights shared Fight of the Year honors.

His next task is just daunting. Benson Henderson brings many things to the table that Penn and Maynard did not. One of them being speed. If Edgar can use his head movement and footwork to avoid Henderson's clinch than I like his chances. I believe that Edgar has the best pure boxing in the division. If he can duplicate the kind of accuracy he showed late against Maynard last October he goes from extremely talented to just flat out scary.

The Champion also has to avoid Bendo's takedowns. Henderson has shown us some tight guillotines back in his WEC days. He's also been involved in some crazy transition wars that usually end up with him getting the best of his opponent. Frankie may have the better boxing and the granite jaw. When it comes to the ground game though, size does matter. How has Edgar's td defense been during his five round title fights? Penn didn't attempt a takedown in their first fight. In the second one he was successful on 2 out of 3. Maynard hit a total of 3 for 19 during their two title fights. I'd say that's quite the improvement from the first time Frankie and Gray met way back at UFC Fight Night: Lauzon vs. Florian. Maynard hit 8 for 10 on his takedowns that night, forcing Edgar to go back to the drawing board. It's clear that the clinic Maynard put on Edgar during that April night in Colorado made him the more complete fighter he is today.

Superior boxing, deadly accuracy, solid takedown defense and avoiding the clinch. That's how Edgar breaks Penn's UFC Lightweight record and puts himself in the "Greatest Lightweight of all time" argument. With a bullet.

A case for Henderson:

In a recent interview the "Smooth" one told mmaweekly he believes his boxing is better than Frankie's. If Henderson decides to stay standing and use only his fists against the Champ I don't like his chances. Good thing for us this is Mixed Martial Arts, not boxing. The chances of Henderson keeping this one a strict boxing affair are about the same as me getting a date on the red carpet with Christina Hendricks at Sunday's Academy Awards. He's just too talented in every "art" and he knows it. If Benson Henderson wants to leave Japan with an oversized belt around his waist then he needs to use his full arsenal .

If the past has shown us anything it's that stamina will not be an issue for either guy. The former WEC Lightweight Champion is no stranger to five round title fights. Barring a Frankie Edgar "Showtime" kick, I like his chances as the fight goes deeper. An explosive mix of well calculated muay thai and trust in his wrestling (don't give up on the takedowns) gives Henderson the potential to finish the Champion. The key word in that sentence is mix. Being the physically bigger specimen and having the deeper skillset do not hurt the challenger's chances one bit either.

This is the opportunity of a lifetime for Benson Henderson. Can he become a real life Clark Kent and fly back to America a UFC Champion? Or does Iron Man Balboa get it done once again? Benson Henderson can find "The Answer" at UFC 144. He just needs to do what Penn and Maynard could not. Mix it up a little bit.


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