November 16, 1983 |
Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA
|Other names||Smooth, Bendo, Crafty Bashkir (among Russian fans)|
|Height||5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)|
|Weight||155 lb (70 kg; 11 st 1 lb)|
|Division||Lightweight (155 lb)
Welterweight (170 lb)
|Reach||70 in (178 cm)|
|Style||Muay Thai, Taekwondo, Wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu|
|Fighting out of||Glendale, Arizona|
Black belt in |
Black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
NAIA All American Wrestler
|Years active||2006-present (MMA)|
|Mixed martial arts record|
|Notable school(s)||Decatur High School|
|Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog|
|Competitor for United States|
|IBJJF World Jiu-Jitsu Championship|
|Bronze||2011 Long Beach||-76 kg (Brown)|
Benson 'Smooth' Henderson (born November 16, 1983) is an American mixed martial artist who currently competes for the Ultimate Fighting Championship where he is the current UFC Lightweight Champion. As of December 2012, Henderson is ranked as the #1 lightweight fighter in the world by Sherdog.
Henderson was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado to a Korean American mother and an African American father. He was raised in Federal Way, Washington. When Henderson was approximately 16 years old, his mother, Song, insisted that he take Tae Kwon Do lessons with his brother. "She's Korean, I'm half-Korean, and it's the traditional Korean martial art, so she wanted us to do that to get a little bit of the culture and tradition," he says. Both Benson and his brother attained black belts in Tae Kwon Do.
He attended Decatur High School from 1998 to 2001. Benson became a part of the high school's wrestling team. After graduating from high school, he attended Dana College in Blair, Nebraska and graduated in 2006 with a double major in criminal justice and sociology. While attending Dana College, Henderson was on the wrestling team, and was twice named an NAIA All-American. Henderson is a proud Christian, and uses his fighting to share his beliefs. He is known to quote scripture after bouts, and walks into each fight to a gospel song.
"I don't drink—I've never had a sip of alcohol. I've never had a puff of a cigarette or weed or anything like that. Growing up in Tacoma, that wasn't a very popular choice. I made a decision, and whenever it came up, I passed the dutchie to the left hand side ... People have seen that. They see I don't do the club scene. By people seeing that, that affects them in a bigger way than me talking about it." 
Mixed martial arts career
Henderson turned professional in 2006, winning his first match against Dan Gregary. He lost his third fight to Rocky Johnson via submission. However, this defeat was a minor setback. He rebounded with four straight wins before facing his toughest fight yet, against a UFC veteran, Diego Saraiva. Henderson came prepared as he dominated Saraiva for three rounds, winning a unanimous decision and his 7th professional win.
World Extreme Cagefighting
Three months later, Henderson made his World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) debut against Anthony Njokuani. Henderson defeated Njokuani with a guillotine choke early in round two. He made his second appearance in the WEC at WEC 40 knocking out contender Shane Roller.
Henderson was given an opportunity to fight for the Interim WEC Lightweight Championship against Donald Cerrone when lightweight champion Jamie Varner was unable to defend his title due to an injury. The fight was the main event for WEC 43 which was held in Texas. Henderson won an exciting back-and-forth fight by unanimous decision. Both Henderson and Cerrone were awarded with an additional purse of $20,000 for fight of the night. The bout was also awarded 2009 Fight of the Year for all of MMA by Sherdog.com
Henderson defeated Jamie Varner with a Guillotine choke to unify the WEC Lightweight Championship at WEC 46 on January 10, 2010. After being outboxed and outwrestled in the first two rounds, Henderson came back and caught Varner in a standing Guillotine choke ending the fight at 2:41 of the third round.
Ultimate Fighting Championship
In October 2010, World Extreme Cagefighting merged with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. As part of the merger, all WEC fighters were transferred to the UFC. Henderson made his UFC debut at UFC 129 on April 30, 2011, defeating Mark Bocek via unanimous decision.
Henderson next faced Jim Miller on August 14, 2011 at UFC on Versus 5. Henderson dominated the streaking Miller throughout the fight, utilizing a stiff jab, great transitions, and vicious ground and pound throughout the match to snap Miller's 7 fight win streak, the third longest in the UFC at the time. Despite being threatened with multiple deep submission attempts, Henderson escaped each attempt and advanced position with increasingly brutal punches and elbows. He earned a unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-26). It was later confirmed that Miller had come into the fight with health problems.
Henderson faced Clay Guida on November 12, 2011 at UFC on Fox 1. He won the fight via unanimous decision after three rounds in an action packed war that earned both fighters Fight of the Night honors. With the win, he became the #1 contender for the UFC Lightweight title.
Henderson faced Frankie Edgar on February 26, 2012 at UFC 144. Henderson defeated Edgar via unanimous decision to become the new UFC Lightweight Champion. Both participants earned Fight of the Night honors for their performance.
Henderson beat Nate Diaz on December 8, 2012 at UFC on Fox 5. Henderson punished Diaz with kicks, superior wrestling and ground and pound, Henderson knocked Diaz down twice with punches and got his back on numerous occasions.
Henderson faced the final Strikeforce Lightweight Champion, and promotional newcomer Gilbert Melendez on April 20, 2013 at UFC on Fox 7. Benson won the fight by a closely contested split decision. After 3 consecutive wins to retain the title, Benson has now tied BJ Penn with the highest number of title defences as a lightweight.
Benson has one older brother, Julius Henderson. Benson is engaged to Maria Magana. He is Christian.. He is a fan of the Seattle Seahawks football team and the Charlotte Bobcats basketball team, though he has stated he hopes Seattle receives another basketball team.
Benson proposed to his fiancée in the Octagon after his win over Gilbert Melendez at UFC on Fox 7.
Championships and accomplishments
Mixed martial arts
- Ultimate Fighting Championship
- World Extreme Cagefighting
- 2012 Fighter of the Year
- 2012 Fighter of the Year 
- 2012 Fighter of the Year
- International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation
- 2011 World Jiu-Jitsu Championship Brown Belt Bronze Medalist
- Arizona State Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation
- AZSBJJF MVP of the Year (2010)
- 2011 Arizona State Championship Brown Belt Openweight Bronze Medalist
- 2011 Arizona State Championship Brown Belt Middleweight Silver Medalist
- 2011 Arizona Open Brown Belt Openweight Gold Medalist
- 2011 Arizona Open Brown Belt Middleweight Gold Medalist
- 2011 Southwest Classic Brown Belt Openweight Gold Medalist
- 2011 Southwest Classic Brown Belt Middleweight Gold Medalist
- 2010 Arizona State Championship Purple Belt Openweight Gold Medalist
- 2010 Arizona State Championship Purple Belt Middleweight Gold Medalist
- 2010 Arizona Open Purple Belt Openweight Silver Medalist
- 2010 Arizona Open Purple Belt Middleweight Gold Medalist
- National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics
- Washington Interscholastic Activities Association
Mixed martial arts record
|Professional record breakdown|
|21 matches||19 wins||2 losses|
|Win||19–2||Gilbert Melendez||Decision (split)||UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Melendez||April 20, 2013||5||5:00||San Jose, California, United States||Defended UFC Lightweight Championship.|
|Win||18–2||Nate Diaz||Decision (unanimous)||UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Diaz||December 8, 2012||5||5:00||Seattle, Washington, United States||Defended UFC Lightweight Championship.|
|Win||17–2||Frankie Edgar||Decision (split)||UFC 150||August 11, 2012||5||5:00||Denver, Colorado, United States||Defended UFC Lightweight Championship.|
|Win||16–2||Frankie Edgar||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 144||February 26, 2012||5||5:00||Saitama, Japan||Won UFC Lightweight Championship; Fight of the Night.|
|Win||15–2||Clay Guida||Decision (unanimous)||UFC on Fox: Velasquez vs. dos Santos||November 12, 2011||3||5:00||Anaheim, California, United States||UFC Lightweight title eliminator; Fight of the Night.|
|Win||14–2||Jim Miller||Decision (unanimous)||UFC Live: Hardy vs. Lytle||August 14, 2011||3||5:00||Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States|
|Win||13–2||Mark Bocek||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 129||April 30, 2011||3||5:00||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Loss||12–2||Anthony Pettis||Decision (unanimous)||WEC 53||December 16, 2010||5||5:00||Glendale, Arizona, United States||Lost WEC Lightweight Championship; Fight of the Night; Fight of the Year.|
|Win||12–1||Donald Cerrone||Submission (guillotine choke)||WEC 48||April 24, 2010||1||1:57||Sacramento, California, United States||Defended WEC Lightweight Championship; Submission of the Night.|
|Win||11–1||Jamie Varner||Submission (guillotine choke)||WEC 46||January 10, 2010||3||2:41||Sacramento, California, United States||Won and Unified WEC Lightweight Championship.|
|Win||10–1||Donald Cerrone||Decision (unanimous)||WEC 43||October 10, 2009||5||5:00||San Antonio, Texas, United States||Won Interim WEC Lightweight Championship; Fight of the Night. Fight of the Year.|
|Win||9–1||Shane Roller||TKO (punches)||WEC 40||April 5, 2009||1||1:41||Chicago, Illinois, United States|
|Win||8–1||Anthony Njokuani||Submission (guillotine choke)||WEC 38||January 25, 2009||2||0:42||San Diego, California, United States|
|Win||7–1||Diego Saraiva||Decision (unanimous)||Evolution MMA||October 4, 2008||3||5:00||Phoenix, Arizona, United States|
|Win||6–1||Ricardo Tirloni||Submission (guillotine choke)||MFC 17||July 25, 2008||2||3:49||Edmonton, Alberta, Canada|
|Win||5–1||Mike Maestas||Submission (rear-naked choke)||MFC 16: Anger Management||May 9, 2008||3||4:11||Edmonton, Alberta, Canada|
|Win||4–1||Bryan Corley||Submission (rear-naked choke)||VFC 21: Infamous||December 7, 2007||1||2:36||Council Bluffs, Iowa, United States|
|Win||3–1||David Dagloria||Submission (punches)||UCE: Round 26: Episode 12||June 23, 2007||1||1:45||Ogden, Utah, United States|
|Loss||2–1||Rocky Johnson||Technical Submission (anaconda choke)||Battlequest 5: Avalanche||March 31, 2007||1||0:46||Vail, Colorado, United States||160 lb catchweight bout.|
|Win||2–0||Allen Williams||TKO (punches)||VFC 18: Hitmen||February 16, 2007||1||1:37||Council Bluffs, Iowa, United States|
|Win||1–0||Dan Gregary||Submission (punches)||MCF: Genesis||November 18, 2006||1||4:21||North Platte, Nebraska, United States|
- "Sherdog Official Mixed Martial Arts Rankings". Sherdog.com. 2012-12-18. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
- "WEC - World Extreme Cagefighting - Benson Henderson". www.wec.tv.
- "HENDERSON & CERRONE EARN EXTRA WITH WEC BONUSES". www.mmaweekly.com. Retrieved 2009-10-11.
- "Sherdog's Fight of the Year". www.sherdog.com. Retrieved 2010-01-14.
- WEC 46 live results and play by play
- "WEC 48: Aldo vs. Faber - Live Results and Commentary". BLOODYELBOW.com. 2010-04-24. Retrieved 2010-04-25.
- "HENDERSON VS. PETTIS OFFICIAL FOR WEC DEC 16". MMAweekly.com. 2010-09-23.
- "UFC and WEC set to merge in 2011; events to air on Versus and Spike TV". mmajunkie.com. October 28, 2010.
- "Jim Miller Faces Benson Henderson in a Lightweight Bout at UFC on Versus 5". mmaweekly.com. May 11, 2011.
- "Clay Guida vs. Benson Henderson in the works for UFC on FOX 1". mmajunkie.com. 2011-09-06.
- "UFC champ Frankie Edgar faces Benson Henderson at February's UFC Japan event". mmajunkie.com. November 12, 2011. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
- "Benson Henderson vs. Frankie Edgar II official for UFC 150 in Denver". mmajunkie.com. May 8, 2012.
- "UFC 150 Results: Benson Henderson Takes the Decision Over Frankie Edgar". mmafighting.com. Aug 12, 2012.
- "Benson Henderson Vs Nate Diaz Headlines Stacked UFC On FOX 5 Event". fightofthenight.com.com. August 15, 2012.
- Mike Chiapetta (2013-01-14). "UFC on FOX 7 targeted for Benson Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez lightweight title fight". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2013-01-14.
- Mike Bohn (2013-06-04). "Benson Henderson vs. T.J. Grant lightweight title fight announced as UFC 164 headliner". mmamania.com. Retrieved 2013-06-04.
- "Northwest Asian Weekly - Smooth Operator". www.nwasianweekly.com. Retrieved 2009-10-22.
- "Maria Magana is MMA Benson Henderson’s Girlfriend".
- "Ten Best - 2012 Fighters of the Year". UFC.com.
- "UFC OFFICIAL RECORDS". FightMetric.com.
- "Experts' picks: 2012 MMA awards". espn.go.com.
- "2012 Bazzie Awards". youtube.com.
- "Benson Henderson: MMAWeekly.com’s 2012 Fighter of the Year". MMAWeekly.com.
- "MMAROCKS.PL’S 2012 MMA Awards". MMARocks.pl.
- "FightMatrix MMA Awards". FightMatrix.com.
- "Fight of the Year: Anthony Pettis vs. Benson Henderson". MMAFighting.com.
- "Fight of the Year: Benson Henderson vs. Donald Cerrone". MMAFighting.com.
- "USA TODAY 2010 MMA Awards: New faces appear". USAToday.com.
- "SI.com's 2009 MMA Awards". sportsillustrated.cnn.com.
- "SHERDOG.COM’S 2012 FIGHTER OF THE YEAR". Sherdog.com.
- "SHERDOG.COM’S 2009 FIGHT OF THE YEAR". Sherdog.com.
- Official Site
- Professional MMA record for Benson Henderson from Sherdog
- Official UFC Profile
- Ben Henderson Quotes
|New title||1st WEC Interim Lightweight Champion
October 10, 2009 - January 10, 2010
|6th WEC Lightweight Champion
January 10, 2010 - December 16, 2010
|5th UFC Lightweight Champion
February 26, 2012 – Present