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Former UFC champ Benson Henderson announces new contract with Bellator

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One of the UFC's best lightweight fighters has made a decision on the next step in his career, after fighting out his contract to test the MMA free agency market.

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It doesn't happen often, but when it does it's always news. One of the UFC"s top lightweight fighters (and currently a top ranked welterweight as well) has fought out his contract with the promotion and embarked on free agency. And now, it sounds like he's got an offer he likes. Henderson announced his next career move on his personal website, SmoothBensonHenderson.com:

"I'd like to officially announce my move over to Bellator MMA.
"I'm beyond excited for this next phase of my career, it's a big move, like any move when switching employers or jobs after having worked somewhere for such a long time.

"I have to thank the BigMan upstairs for putting some amazing people in my life, my wife (first and foremost) and a lot of truly smart and insightful people behind the scenes who helped make the connections and negotiated this deal to bring it to fruition.

"I'd be remiss to not thank Dana White and Lorenzo Fertita for the opportunities they presented me, you guys have helped me change my life for the better and to be able to provide my family with the things I didn't have while growing up. For that I'll always have the utmost appreciation. Thanks for all the advise you guys gave too, both business wise and personal.

"And last but not least, to who it is I think of when I think of the UFC! Everybody behind the scenes who I personally dealt with every time I reported in or had to do something. Mayra, Melissa, Dave, Chris, Nick, Tracy, Joanie, Maura, Tony, Heidi, Ryan, James, Dave, Kaia (sp.???), Burt, Rob, Rudy, Stitch, House, Mike, Susie, Dean, Donna, Feryal, Sean, Joe, Brad, Jazzmine, Candice, Michelle, Reed, sorry I can't name everyone or this list would go on for forever. There's a whole ton of people behind the scenes who make that show what it is. You guys and girls are the ones who make that show great and allow us fighters to do what it is we love!!! Much love to you all and thanks for putting up with me for so long.

"To my fans, thanks for all the love and support, I'll keep giving you my all, opening up my heart and soul inside that cage. I'm excited for this next chapter and building new relationships with guys I've heard nothing but great things about like Scott Coker, Rich Chou and Mike Kogan.

"#TheOnceAndFutureKing
BH"

No word yet on any of the details of this new contract, or how negotiations went down for the deal. But, you can expect plenty of news to come out around the move in the coming days. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow, as we'll be sure to keep you updated.

UPDATE: Turns out another top ranked UFC free agent may have a little extra interest in Bendo's new deal as Aljamain Sterling and Henderson share the same management.

MMA Hour: Benson Henderson on his plans as a free agent