Former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson has had a lot more than just fans buzzing about his choice to leave the UFC and sign to fight with Bellator MMA. Now being a former UFC fighter, current UFC veterans have been trying to get as much information from “Smooth” on how his negotiations went down from both the UFC and Bellator.
Henderson was featured by Fansided who extensively interviewed the Bellator welterweight title contender about how his choice has had a lot of fighters in the UFC curious about if the grass in greener over at Bellator.
“Having held the belt and being on a winning streak I think is what has signaled the change and reaction from the MMA community and from other fighters as well. I can’t tell you how many phone calls and texts I’ve received from fighters still in the UFC asking about the contract I signed. They’ve all asked about money and my deal with Bellator. I think there is a change happening in MMA culture and I believe I’ve been a big spark to it.”
UFC President Dana White revealed that their offer to Henderson included a huge increase in pay that was “not even in the same ballpark” on the condition that Henderson becomes a UFC champion again. Henderson put an interesting take on that offer from the UFC.
“If your boss tells you that he’ll pay you a bunch more money if you become the champion but your boss is the one who decides whether or not you’ll ever get the chance to fight for the title well that doesn’t look quite as appealing when you break it down that way now does it?” Henderson posed. “I think the die-hard MMA fans could see that right away, but casual fans of the sport probably didn’t pick up the particular wording in that statement.
“The UFC can sit there and promise you the moon, but it’s ultimately up to them to actually give you the opportunity. What’s the point of having that stipulation if it’s beyond my control to earn it? This is about legacy for me. I’ve always strived to be the type of man who stays true to the things I stand for. If I say something I hold to it because it’s not just what you say it’s what you do and what you stand for that determines the type of man that you are.”
Henderson added that much of what he chooses to do is based on his own values. It goes to show that even the hot-tempered Dana White said in their parting that “Smooth” is “a great guy, and we wish him all the best.”
Henderson added, “I stand up for what I believe in because I just want to be a good person. I want to make the right decisions and do what is best for my family. I want to win all of my fights but I want to win them in the right way. I want to conduct myself in the right way and leave a great legacy behind. I think that aspect may mean more to me than maybe it does some other people.”