November 23, 2011
UFC lightweight Benson Henderson will fight Frankie Edgar for the title in February, but before that, he is touring through Japan and Korea to visit with troops, meet media, and most importantly, meet his family. Read his exclusive travel blog posts at Cagewriter.
Last week, I was honored to be asked by the UFC to represent them in Korea and Japan. This is my first time overseas, which these days seems to put me in a minority. But I am looking forward to the great events and festivities that are lined up.
The main purpose of this trip is to visit with many of our American troops here in Korea. These men and women do so much for our country, and have to spend so much time away from their loved ones to accomplish that. We sometimes take that for granted.
I also wanted to take this trip for a very personal reason. I am a second-generation Korean-American, and I am visiting my mother's home country. My Oma (mom) is accompanying me on this trip. Over the weekend, she will get to see many of her family members for the first time in years, and I will be meeting them for the first time EVER! Being able to share this trip with my Oma makes it so much more special.
I never really thought I'd come visit Korea until I was much older and retired, but the UFC has made it a reality. As I am writing this, we are driving through a very beautiful and slightly overwhelming downtown Seoul.
So far, I've done a few interviews and had a chance to visit Camp Carroll in Daegu. There I took part in a mini-MMA clinic with the Army Combative Instructors, shook some hands and signed a lot of autographs. These men and women are huge fans of MMA and the UFC.
I've also had a chance to speak with a lot of soldiers personally. Getting a feel of how much they are sacrificing, I'm completely blown away and honored that I could come out and support them in return. That holds true even more this time of year, with the holidays around the corner. I'll be visiting a lot more bases this week, and having Thanksgiving dinner with the troops too, before heading off to Japan to promote my next fight.
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