Former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson has signed a fight contract with Bellator.
Henderson confirmed his new fighting home on his official website.
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.
After defeating Jorge Masvidal last year, Henderson (23-5) became a free agent. He went 4-2 over his last six fights with the UFC, including wins over Josh Thomson and Brandon Thatch, and was 11-3 overall with the promotion after merging from the WEC.
The 32-year-old Henderson trains out of Glendale, Arizona and the MMA Lab. He is a former NAIA wrestler who has been competing professional in MMA since 2006.
In 2009, Henderson captured the WEC lightweight title with a decision victory over Donald Cerrone. He unified the belts when he submitted Jamie Varner the next year, defending it with a submission win vs. Cerrone.
Henderson’s title reign ended with a decision loss in 2010 to Anthony Pettis, the same man who claimed the UFC title from him three years later with a first round submission victory. It didn’t take him long to get back on tract, scoring wins over Thomson and Rustam Khabilov before a pair of losses to current UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos in 2014 and a decision loss in the third meeting with “Cowboy” last year.
He joins a list of fighters that includes Josh Koscheck, Phil Davis and Thomson who have completed their UFC contracts and signed with Bellator. The promotion is currently run by former Strikeforce leader Scott Coker.