Benson Henderson ponders move to Welterweight

UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson has been steadfast in saying that he wants to break Anderson Silva‘s record for title defenses. He currently has one to Silva’s ten, so he certainly has a long way to go before he can even consider Silva’s seemingly untouchable record. However, his biggest challenge to chase Silva’s benchmark may not be in the Octagon. Instead, the scale can prove to be Henderson’s biggest foe.

“I’m growing, but as far as maturing and getting thicker, I think I’m getting older right now, and it’s getting harder for me to lose the weight … and it’s harder for me to keep the weight off,” he said in an interview with MMA Junkie recently. Although Henderson fights in the 155 pound division, he has been known to walk around at somewhere between 180 and 190 pounds. The 28-year-old is slowly realizing that shaving the weight is not as easy as it once was. As a matter of fact, it’s becoming rather rough and could result in his departure from the division if the cut becomes too strenuous. But while he can make the weight, he’ll do so. He currently enjoys a hefty size and reach advantage over his lightweight counterparts. A move up in weight will negate all of those advantages.

How long will he be able to stay at lightweight? Nobody knows except for Henderson. But “Smooth” is making a conscious effort to monitor his diet to ensure that he can one day catch Silva for most title defenses. 

“In life, you go through different phases of maturing,” he said. “Some people have a maturation of how you act with other people, and how they conduct themselves and how they treat themselves as professionals. A part of that maturation process that every athlete goes through is taking care of yourself and being smart with your body.”

  • ripstic5021

    Is tihis serious? Making an excuse for losing to Diaz already.

  • Fletcherx

    Seems like the better weight class for him. he is a big LW.

  • s2681043

    Hows it a better weight class at WW Fletcherx….. he is the champ at LW.

    Good call….

  • Rnev75

    Bones Jones gets a lot of flack for his demeanour and interview style. I actually find Benson a lot harder to take. I am pleased that he has big plans for a long title run, however, I’d be more interested in hearing him stake his claim on the division after defending it a few more times.

  • ljense8

    I actually agree with Fletcherx. Just like the article says, the weight cut could eventually become to strenuous on him, reducing his ability to fight to his full potential, potentially resulting in losing his title. Sure he is the champ, but all it takes is one bad weight cut and he could suffer a bad loss, which often times triggers a downward spiral with a lot of fighters. At 170 he won’t have the huge size advantage any more, but he will be stronger and have more energy than he does at 155. I would be pretty interested in seeing him against GSP. Similar build, size, and skillsets, could be an interesting match.

  • highkick12

    And keep in mind Anderson has what, 3 fights at LHW and the one non title fight at MW so his record could easily be noticeably higher. Benson has yet to finish anybody in a ufc fight and he cant stop talking about being the best in ufc history. It would sure suck if he had 10 straight decision wins…

  • Warheadchief

    And thats how you become a champion, cut down to a division below your normal weight class, be bigger than everyone. Glad Benson is realizing where he truly belongs this soon.

  • D

    Nowhere in the quotes you provided does Henderson say he is “pondering a move to welterweight.” He just says that it’s getting harder for him to keep his weight down. Maybe it’s an incomplete quote, or maybe it’s just speculation on the part of the author.

    Here’s my speculation. Bendo is the lightweight champion. He has a good chance to defend that belt several times. As good as he is, his chances of moving up and having the same level of success are very slim. He’s 28, not 18. It’s not like he’s suddenly filling out dramatically. He can find a way to tweak his workouts and diet to stay at 155, and as long as he holds the title, he would be stupid not to.

  • KeithFarrell

    Wouldn’t that mean LW is better for him then? I’m not a fan of Benson’s but the guy might be physically perfect for LW – he is huge for the weight class but he is one of the best at cutting weight in MMA, he retains great speed, power and superhuman cardio.

    Unless his weight cut is damaging on his body or gets more difficult as he ages, he is definitely best suited at LW

  • KeithFarrell

    Definitely agree. Benson’s main attribute is his size and ability to control his opponent…. Good luck doing that against someone like GSP, Kos, Fitch or Hendricks.

    Benson will be a tip 5 LW for years probably but IMO he would struggle to be a top 10 WW

  • darejz00

    I think every fighter should fight at the weight class that is closest to their natural weight. It is better than fighters gaining an advantage by being good at cutting weight and there will be less fighters being drained on fight-day.


    He should fight Nate at LW, & then move up & fight Nick at WW.

  • mindkontrolle

    What happened to defending your title 1 more than Anderson Silva has, Benson? LOL, Benson. LOL.

  • The_Hurt

    Is it safer to change your body or change the game?

    We all want to see less injuries and more fights agreed? To have that you need more superstars to carry the cards agreed? How do you attract more people into the sprot to begin with in order to create the supply for this demand? Smaller weight division gaps! I think even same day weigh-ins would laso help with this dilemma getting solved towards making a nrighter future for MMA, I mean really its weight divisions are at Least twice as far removed as boxing from top to bottom! Are MMA fighters twice or more less susceptable to the effects of weight cutting? Hell no so the way things are are rediculous.

    I propose that weight classes becom tightenned immediately and especially case in point the middle and heavier weight classes. Less worry about weight cutting closer weigh-ins to fight time promote fairer fights between moer evenly conditioned athletes. It also attracts more people into the sport in the firts place knowing they have options to always grow to what is their own personal best performance weight no matter what that option might be because it already exists. 150, 160, 170, 182 195, 210, 249, 250+ for example..

    More weight classes means more superstars, more cards can be filled with champions, better fairer superfights can be arranged. Less injuries and fighter damage before and during fights are a result of this way of thinking. Would we all rather see every guy in the cage putting on better perfromances and actually making the FON a real competition rather than and in the past this has happenned when no one got the award because their were simply just no good fights? What idf everyone was healthy because they were what they should be fighting at with full energy and fighting farier match-ups? This would also extend the shelf life of athletes who chose to compete in the sport because the wear and tear of the second sport at play here called “weight cutting” would no longer be so prevelant! You can not blame a fighter or their bodies for not achieving their full potential in the sport because the sport chooses to define itself on unrealalistic pie in the sky parameters taken on just to get the sport started. Has the sport not grown? Do the divisions not deserve to be closer to those of boxing since MMA is now bigger and better business than boxing? This makes as much sense as saying MMA needs it’s own commision establishment to ensure better and more consistant reffereeing and judging while looking into issue like replays rather than who had a puff of a joint. If you don’t agree I would like to gather that the reason is you are puffing too much yourself.

  • kickassfast

    there will be plenty of pondering once diaz kicks his ass

  • mindkontrolle


  • fingerssfv

    I didn’t read where he is making this jump to WW. I understood him to state he will consider this jump, when it becomes too difficult to make weight. Then he will make the choice to jump or hold the (LW) weight or retire, or whatever he decides.

  • darejz00

    They should make a movie about your comment…

  • OperationCWAL

    saying hes getting thicker doesnt sound right comming from a man….with thick hips…..LOL