MANILA, Philippines – UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson was one of the handful fighters who sided with beleaguered light heavyweight king Jon Jones on the UFC 151 issue.
Henderson stressed that Jones has every right to turn down the Chael Sonnen fight because it was his career on the line.
Jones’ refusal to take on Sonnen on eight-day’s notice resulted in the cancellation of UFC 151.
"Jones definitely got a raw deal," said Henderson in MMA Fighting. "All of the onus, all of it, was put on his shoulders. Everything. What about the co-main event? What about bringing in other guys? What about the guys getting injured? There was a lot. To place everything on his shoulders, I think, was very unfair. He's fully within his rights to turn down a fight.”
Henderson said that Jones wasn’t the first fighter to turn down a fight, citing Matt Mitrione, who rejected a fight against Daniel Cormier; and Rashad Evans, who turned down a fight against Glover Teixeira.
He said that he would have made the same decision.
"Some guys are turning down fights, short-notice fights, two week's notice fights, eight day's notice fights, five week's notice fights because it's not enough time to fully prepare,” said Henderson.
"The rash of guys turning down fights," he continued, "it happened before Jones. It wasn't like it's all of a sudden, it just happens out of nowhere. It happened before Jones decided not to fight Chael Sonnen.”
Henderson said Jones did what he thought was best for his family and his career.
“You definitely always have to do what's best for you and your career. Take care of your family, pay the bills," he said.