UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson successfully defended his 155-pound title on Saturday night with a split-decision victory over former Strikeforce champ Gilbert Melendez. While Henderson is currently at the top of the world in his weight class, he already has his plans for retirement.
The 28-year-old Henderson is beginning to realize how much of a toll fighting takes on the body, so he has a plan to break Anderson Silva’s consecutive title defense record before retiring from the sport at age 33.
“I’m definitely getting noticed more (fighting on FOX), that’s for sure. Everywhere we go, and it’s cool. Take the good with the bad, the pros with the cons. It’s nice. It’s not going to happen for the rest of my life. It’s going to happen for what? Two, three, four more years or so, then after that, you know, it’s not going to happen anymore,” Henderson said, via MMA Mania.
“Anderson’s at 10 [consecutive title defenses] now, I fight three more years, three fights each year that will put me at nine. I have two already – or one already then I’m done after that. I’m going to get one past his record. Fighting’s hard man, fighting’s tough. You’re getting beat up on the body – you saw me this morning in the weight room and stuff. It takes a toll on your body, so by the time I hit 33 I intend on retiring. I’m done after that.”
Henderson proposed to his girlfriend, Maria Magana, after the fight, so it could also be that the champion is ready to start a family.
While he is always focused on training and becoming the best fighter he can be, it is hard to focus on the outside things. For Henderson, walking away from the sport could prove to be exactly what he needs to begin the life of a family man.
Whatever Henderson decides will be the right choice for him. He is a man of strong faith and he will not make a decision unless he is 100 percent ready to.
Hopefully for fans of the sport, Henderson can stick around a little longer.