Benson Henderson not only ended Islam Mamedov’s 20-fight unbeaten streak this past weekend, that quality victory also marked the final bout in his Bellator contract. The former UFC champion will be weighing his options, but acknowledged that at 38-years-old retirement is also one of them.
“I wanted to soak it all in,” Henderson said at Bellator 273’s post-fight press conference (transcribed by MMA Fighting). “I’m not sure if this will be my last fight or not, so I wanted to enjoy it. I wanted to enjoy the ‘W,’ enjoy getting my hand raised. I might keep going, I might not. We’ll find out.
“They paid me a lot of money — I might have under-fought my contract, so going into the re-negotiations, I’m not sure how they’re going to treat me,” Henderson said. “We’ll see, we’ll find out. But I do know that if this is the last one, this was a great way to go out.”
While Henderson did hint at the possibility of retirement, he also seems more than open to fighting again if things fall into place. He also briefly spoke to Khabib Nurmagomedov at Bellator 273 about possibly joining his ranks now that his fellow former UFC lightweight champ is a promoter.
“I just said I’m a big fan of his, and I’ve heard rumors of Eagle FC or something like that,” Henderson said with a smile.
“I don’t know. I do know that I would like to continue fighting, but other things have to line up. My wife [Maria Henderson] is going to go pro [in MMA] pretty soon. We’ve got four babies. You’ve got to be home to take care of those babies,” Henderson said. “Man, four kids is a lot of work, so if I have to become a stay-at-home dad, that might be the case, and mommy’s going to go take over and bring home the bread.”
Henderson (29-11) was UFC lightweight champion from 2012 to 2013, where he successfully defended his title three times against Frankie Edgar, Nate Diaz and Gilbert Melendez. After capping his UFC stint in 2015 with a win over Jorge Masvidal, “Smooth” fought 12 times for Bellator and managed to end his contract with them with a nice victory as well.