Avengers VS X-Men

Fightin' Fanboys: Benson Henderson

The UFC Lightweight Champion gets set for his fight with Frankie Edgar II and explains why the X-Men should crush the Avenger

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Photos courtesy of UFC

By Blake Garris

Mixed martial artist Benson “Smooth” Henderson currently reigns as the Lightweight Champion of the UFC. He will be defending his title against Frankie Edgar II on pay-per-view live this Saturday at UFC 150.

He’s also a big fan of comics!

The UFC recently followed Henderson on one of his comic shopping trips, as you can see from the video below...

We recently had the opportunity to talk with Henderson about this, his reasoning behind why he thinks the X-Men will triumph over the Avengers and what makes him the biggest Marvel Comics fan in the UFC!

Avengers Vs. X-Men

Marvel.com: To begin, we hear you're a big fan of Avengers Vs. X-Men and are rooting for the X-Men. Why do you lean towards them over the Avengers?

Benson Henderson: I’ve really just been a huge fan of all the X-Men titles since I was a little kid. I’ve read all of the X books. The stories are great, and there seems to be more of an edge to the X-Men. The X-Men broke the mold of what a hero is or what a hero could be. They are hated and feared by society, yes, but they still fight for it. Some of them could be villains—and some of them like Magneto and [Emma Frost] have gone back and forth between being heroes and villains—because it is hard to stand up for a world which hates you. I think that’s just powerful storytelling.

I also loved that the female characters, from Storm to Jean Grey to Rogue and even Jubilee, were every bit as strong as the men. Not just strong as in Rogue is as tough as Colossus, but also that Storm could be the leader of the X-Men and was every bit as good a leader as Professor X or Cyclops. I love comic books for the storytelling and, ever since I was a kid, I think the X books have always [broken] the mold in terms of pushing the boundaries of the types of characters and conflicts you can have in comics.

And AvX is a great event story arc. It’s great to see the Phoenix back in a major story in the Marvel Universe. It is one of the most powerful entities there is, and every time it shows up something big happens. I am loving AvX. The X-Men lost a couple of fights I didn’t see eye to eye with though. I wasn’t happy with Magneto getting schooled by Iron Man—I didn’t like that at all.

Benson Henderson unleashes a kick

Come on, man, he’s the Master of Magnetism, one of the most [powerful] mutants who ever lived. Nine times out of 10, he schools that playboy. But now we have the Phoenix Five, I’m pretty confident the Avengers are going down!

I’ve got the last three issues to read when I get back. I want to be able to take my time and enjoy them, so I won’t read them until after the fight. I got a whole pile of new X books at home waiting and when I get back home I’ll run by the local store and pick up some more and have a couple of days just catching up.

Marvel.com: You’re a big UNCANNY X-FORCE fan; what about that book do you love?

Benson Henderson: I like the unbridled nature with Wolverine as their leader. This incarnation of the team is the best they’ve done. They have a no holds barred attitude, which is very exciting to read. I’m a big fan of that. I am a fan of the fact the X-Men have always protected the entire world, no matter they are hated by it, but I also love the realism that you would need a team—a secret team—who take care of business by any means necessary.

Marvel.com: In the video above, you compare yourself to Shatterstar. Is he your favorite Marvel character? If not, who is and why?

Benson Henderson: Shatterstar is definitely one of my favorites. I guess I am drawn to his persona. He’s kinda straight-laced, but he was born to be a warrior. That is, he was born to be a warrior and he has that sense of purpose, which makes him stand out. There are quite a few that rank high on my list, but I would say my favorite in general is Cable and Nate Grey. I’d have both versions of Cable as my joint favorites.

Uncanny X-Force

Cable’s whole introduction—coming from the future, being the son of the leaders of the X-Men—just blew me away as a kid. He’s super-powerful, and very militaristic, but he’s a product of where he’s from. He’s from a very bad place. I’m also a huge Nate Grey, X-Man [fan]. If the X-Men had Cable and X-Man on the team when the Avengers showed up, I think AvX would have been a one-shot, not a limited series.

Marvel.com: What other Marvel comics are you currently reading?

Benson Henderson: I regularly collect UNCANNY X-FORCE. Past that, I really love the big story arcs. I love the summer events. I loved Messiah Complex, Fear Itself and Siege. Siege was one of my favorites. I like to get involved with a specific story arc. I feel I get deeper into the story that way, because it involves almost every Marvel character, and you have huge battles with all these characters, but at the same time there are other issues featuring how this huge storyline affects one person.

Marvel.com: Rumor has it you're the biggest Marvel fan in the UFC. Which UFC fighter comes close and how would beat him in a fight?

Benson Henderson: Former UFC welterweight champ Matt Serra is a huge fan and I know a bunch of others have gone to this year’s Comic-Con, which is something I haven’t been able to do yet. I think I’m probably the most die-hard fan of comics, though. I can sit around talking comic books all day and I know exactly when the next issue of my books [are] out. A lot of the Zuffa employees I know are big comic book fans, too, and I’m sure I could beat them in a fight if I had to. [Laughs]

Benson Henderson

Marvel.com: You're defending your title against Frankie Edgar on Saturday. What can fans expect from the fight?

Benson Henderson: Fans can expect to see a great fight. Frankie and I are both fighters that give our all every second of every fight. The fans loved what we both brought to the table in the first fight, which I won six months ago in what some people say is the fight of the year, and I think they’re going to love the rematch too. I want to be as identified with the UFC Lightweight title as Muhammad Ali was with the boxing heavyweight title, and to do that I’ve got to keep this belt for a long time. That’s what I plan on doing.

Marvel.com: Why did you decide to give him a rematch for the title?

Benson Henderson: Frankie granted enough rematches himself when he was the champion that I had no problem accepting one as well. He has earned that right, and he was a great champion. Personally, I think I clearly won our first fight. I feel I hurt him with punches and kicks and got the better of it when we hit the ground. However, Frankie thinks he won it and says he is going to get the belt back. I think the fans wanted to see a rematch, and I will prove myself again.

Catch UFC 150: Henderson vs. Edgar II live this Saturday on Pay-Per-View. You can also follow Benson on Twitter @BensonHenderson.

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