Ben Henderson
United States

  • Full name Benson Henderson
  • Nickname Smooth
  • Birth date November 16, 1983
  • Birth place Colorado Springs
  • Current age 34 years 155 days
  • Height 5 ft 9 in
  • Weight 155 lb
Benson Henderson poses for a photo with his team

If Ben Henderson carries the look of a student, that's probably because he was one - a graduate in criminal justice and sociology no less. And when it comes to Octagon examinations, it seems the lightweight has all the answers figured out.

Blessed with a frame built for athleticism, Henderson operates on legs that look built for an American Football running back. Power, agility, speed of thought and movement - all things you would attribute to the UFC's current lightweight champion, who acts as the very definition of a mixed martial artist.

Working out of the southpaw stance, Henderson initially established a wrestling base but quickly added black belt Taekwondo capabilities to his armoury. A brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu followed - meaning "Smooth" can happily take a fight anywhere he wants.

Having failed with an application to appear on series nine of The Ultimate Fighter (UK vs USA), Henderson made a splash in the WEC by submitting Anthony Njokuani via guillotine choke. The move has since become his trademark.

Another win, over Shane Roller, set up an interim title bout with Donald Cerrone - won by Henderson in the 2009 Fight of the Year. A unification victory (via guillotine) over reigning champion Jamie Varner followed, before he once again applied a choke to see off Cerrone for a second time.

Defeat to Anthony Pettis was a sour way for Henderson to end his WEC career, but bigger things awaited in the UFC where three wins took him to a title shot. En route he dominated Jim Miller to truly make people sit up and take notice, before another Fight of the Year contender with Clay Guida made his case impossible to ignore.

Fighting Frankie Edgar, tipped as the No. 2 pound-for-pounder by UFC president Dana White, Henderson outstruck his rival for a tight decision victory - leaving the champ a bloodied mess as he walked out without a scratch - but with the championship belt. Henderson has since repeated the victory in a rematch, as well as dominating Nate Diaz.

Career high
Frankie Edgar was on his way to becoming the best lightweight in UFC history. The holder of that crown, BJ Penn, had been beaten twice by Edgar, who also became the first man to beat Gray Maynard. However, Henderson dropped his man in the second round with a huge upkick and delivered the more telling blows to become lightweight champion in the biggest promotion the sport has to offer.

Career low
Henderson will always be remembered for finding himself on the end of the Showtime Kick, an amazing strike produced by Anthony Pettis as he stole Henderson's WEC title. Leaping into the cage before bouncing off to floor Henderson with a spectacular flying kick, Pettis became an internet sensation - with Henderson his victim.

"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... by people seeing that, that affects them in a bigger way than me talking about it."

Henderson is the first Asian-African American to hold the UFC lightweight belt.


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