The Mind Power advantage goes to…
Henderson vs Edgar is going to be one of the most exciting LW bouts one could imagine. They both have an interesting personality, interesting lives and they certainly have great skills and the potential to win the fight. With similar skillsets, the question is: “Who of the two is mentally stronger? Who wins the Mind Power game?.
In April 10, 2010 Edgar came in as the underdog to face “The Prodigy” BJ Pen; the underdog won the title. People claimed the victory on luck and so four months later the rematch; Edgar won again in a dominating fashion. The long-time wrestler grew up competing and got used to working hard from a very young age. His work ethic is second to none and his humbleness a pillar of Edgar’s personality. Edgar is used to being the underdog and that is down to his size; he himself said that he is one of, if not the smallest guy in the division and people struggle to understand how he can pull off the performances that he is known for.
Henderson is the religious guy, the “Warrior of God”. His faith gives the former WEC champion the strength, the focus and the sense of purpose he needs to win fights. Henderson said “I am not afraid to lose, I don’t fight not to lose, I fight to win” and he certainly walked the walk so far. The former WEC LW champ lives a humble life, far from the celebrity type and focuses his energy in his self development as human being and his spirituality.
The Mind Power
So the UFC 144 LW title bout will feature two of the nicest, most humble and most talented athletes in the industry but who has the Mind Power advantage? Who is mentally stronger? There are two types of answers to this question: the safe answer and the risky answer.
The safe answer
The safe answer is that they are both mentally strong, fit and thus equal. The reason being that they both come out of successful trends, good momentum, have great camps and generally have, at least to the best of my knowledge, no reason to be psychologically overwhelmed by the upcoming challenge.
The risky answer
The more risky answer is the result of this logic: Edgar is the underdog against Pen and he wins but then he needs to prove himself again as many call the win a “freaky event”. Edgar goes back in there for a rematch four months later and wins again; now he feels legit. The journey from hell wasn’t over yet though; Frankie had to face the only man who did beat him in the past, Maynard. During what was one of the most epic battles ever recorded in the octagon, Maynard gives Edgar a tough fight which ends in a draw. This is when questions on the legitimacy of the title holder can become a repetition and therefore a pattern and consequently a worry for the champ. First Penn, then Maynard; Edgar must be feeling eager to go back in there and prove himself, hopefully once and for all. Frankie is one of the very few, if any, who had defended the belt twice and still had to prove himself. When the Edgar – Maynard III arrived, the whole MMA community glued themselves to the TV screens to watch what turned out to be the fight that finally earned Edgar the full, true and clean respect that he deserves. No more questions, no more controversy; Edgar finished Maynard in spectacular and dominating fashion. Now edgar is a tranquil, legit champion, now he had nothing to prove.
Henderson on the other hand has… nothing! No drama, no emotions. There is nothing that happened to Henderson which puts him through the roller coaster that Edgar has just come out of and this may be the factor that makes the difference.
Edgar’s state of mind must be, for the first time in years, different from what it was through that roller coaster. His thoughts must be different as the situation is different from the recurring one that he found himself in. This is not necessarily a bad thing, in fact, it may turn out to be an advantageous factor; we just don’t know and Edger probably does not know either. The thing is that going into a title fight with a different mindset from the one in which you have won the last three fights may or may not be ideal; it certainly can cause doubts.
So in short, the second, more risky answer is that Henderson has the Mind Power advantage as nothing, or little, changed in his mindset whereas, whether in good or bad, a lot changed for Edgar who for the first time has nothing, or much less than he did, to prove.