UFC Champ Praises Jesus Christ, Tells Fans to 'Hug on Your Loved Ones'

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By Jeff Schapiro, Christian Post Reporter
December 10, 2012|1:45 pm

After dominating his opponent during the UFC on Fox 5 main event on Saturday, Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight champion Benson "Smooth" Henderson told the crowd there are more important things in life than fighting.

Before answering any questions for UFC commentator Joe Rogan during his post-fight interview inside the cage at Seattle's KeyArena, the outspoken Christian fighter took a moment to acknowledge God by quoting the Book of Philippians.

"'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.' Can I get an amen?" said Henderson to the sold-out crowd of over 14,000 people.

Henderson described his opponent, Nate Diaz, as being "tough as heck," but said he was well-prepared for the fight – and it showed. Even though the main event went to a decision after 25 minutes of fighting, Henderson won all five rounds on all three of the judge's scorecards.

After retaining his title in what Rogan described as "arguably the most talent-rich division in the UFC," the outspoken Christian fighter took a moment to share the emotional weight he carried throughout the competition.

Henderson dedicated his performance to his teammates, Victor and Yaotzin Meza, whose mother is currently battling lymphoma cancer. He also fought for his business partner, Joe Ervin, whose teenage son passed away just last week in a hiking accident.

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"Fighting's cool. I love this guys, thank you guys for all of the support. Seattle, I love you, but fighting is just a small part," Henderson told the crowd. "There's a lot more to life, guys. There's a lot more to life. Hug on your loved ones, cherish them. These moments we have together, they're a lot shorter than you think."

After the fight, some questions were also directed toward the bizarre allegations that Henderson has been fighting with a toothpick inside of his mouth. When asked by Rogan if it was true, Henderson responded only by saying: "That's too dangerous."

During the press conference afterward, when asked again about the toothpick, Henderson told reporters that he did like to have one in his mouth when training and fighting. A few minutes later, though, he said he was "joking" and was being "facetious."

Henderson's faith also became a topic of conversation during the press conference. When asked if there was a conflict between his religion and "beating somebody in the face," Henderson said he doesn't see a conflict between his faith and competing in the sport of mixed martial arts.

He also shared how his faith impacts his life and his fights.

"For me it's more of just a daily walk. It's what I do every day, it's not really about putting on a show ... It's about your daily walk with the Lord, and I'm not ashamed to wear it on my sleeve," he said. "I'm not ashamed to put it out there. Another thing: I'm an emotional fighter, I'm an emotional guy. That's what helps me get worked up in the right mental frame to go inside the octagon and try and beat somebody up."

Henderson's victory over Diaz marked his second successful title defense since he won the UFC lightweight belt in February 2012.

 

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