5 Minutes with Ben Henderson

Why does such a polite young man like yourself punch people in the face for a living?

I view it more as a competition, like tennis or golf— any professional sport. Its just competition, plain and simple. It just so happens that this competition is fighting.

You’re fighting Jaime Varner next. If you could change one thing about him, what would it be?

I’m not sure. Maybe I would make him less strong, so he doesn’t punch as hard.

You were a double major in criminal justice and sociology. Sociologically speaking, why is FIGHT! the best magazine in the sport?

Sociologically speaking, FIGHT! is the best magazine because they offer the widest viewpoints. Not a bias, you know? ‘Oh, well these are the best fighters period, because we said so,’ because they are pumped by whoever is backing them. They have lots of other fighters as well, not just well known fighters and big stars.

You went to college in Nebraska. What’s the best time in the Cornhusker state?

Definitely football season. There’s no pro team. There’s really not a whole lot in Nebraska. Right when football season comes around, everyone’s all about the Huskers. Everyone’s a lot more friendly believe it or not. ‘Oh yeah, did you watch the Huskers game? Are you excited for the Huskers?’ Everything’s about go Big Red.

You ever get in trouble out in Nebraska?

I never really got into too much trouble. Me and my buddies were kind of losers. We stayed home and watched fights Saturday nights and played board games. We hung out and didn’t really do too much troublemaking.

What’s your favorite board game?

We played Cranium all the time.

I’m a Monopoly man myself. No one likes that one though.

Oh no, me and my roommates, we are hardcore Monopoly enthusiasts. We play strictly by the rules. None of that homemade rules stuff, strictly by the book rules. It got to the point where it was so bad that no one wanted to play with me and my roommates anymore. We took it too seriously. ‘It’s not even fun playing with you guys!’

I got to say Benson, I’m tempted to go down to Arizona and challenge you.

Oh man! It’d be on like Donkey Kong, let me tell you.

What’s a young Christian who happens to be a champion do to party?

I eat a lot! My own choice of, ‘Hey, what do you guys want to do? What’s going on? What do you want to do tonight?’ It’s always gonna be centered around eating.

If you could travel anywhere in the world for food, where would you go?

I wouldn’t say Korea, just because my mom is Korean, and it doesn’t get any more delicious than mom’s home cooking. I’d really like to go somewhere exotic, somewhere I have no idea what the food is like. Maybe Bosnia.

How do you market yourself in MMA without tattoos or a reality show?

You can market yourself a bunch of different ways, you know. Yeah, it’s a big stereotype of fighters as far as from all the reality shows what fighters are like and how we actually interact with each other. Sometimes it can be a little tough, like, ‘No, I’m a professional fighter—cage fighter— but no I’m not some silly drunken alcoholic guy.’

Can I make a suggestion? I think Ben Henderson scrunchies would be a great marketing tool.

This is what I’m saying! I want to get sponsored by Pantene Pro-V. I’ll do Pert Plus. TRESemme. Garnier Fructis.

Do you have any embarrassing songs on your iPod?

I suppose there are a few, but not super embarrassing. It’s not really that embarrassing—John Mayer. I love John Mayer. I have a man crush on John Mayer. He’s awesome. Any of his songs, his whole album, I know all the lyrics to his whole album. Sometimes my girl is like, “Are you serious? You need to just stop.”

You rock your glasses hard. Any spectacled celebrity you think wears them well?

We’ll go with either Harry Potter, even though he’s fictional, or Ugly Betty.

Both fictional characters, man. Outside of your camp, who do you admire in MMA?

Of course, being a wrestler, Matt Hughes. I grew up a lot watching him. BJ Penn, those are my two all-time favorites fighters to watch. Another guy who people don’t know as much about is Yves Edwards. That guy is awesome. Still now, but especially back in the day, when he was at his peak, he was the man. I liked him a lot.

Team Jacob or Team Edward?

Oh oh! I have a huge debate on my Web site www.smoothben.com, on my Facebook, on my Twitter @ SMOOTHone155. Team Jacob all the way! 100%, hands down!

I’ll be seeing you in Arizona for that Monopoly challenge.

Heeey, anytime, hit me up, let me know.

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