Former WEC and UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson recently underwent knee surgery, and the current Bellator MMA fighter is aiming for a summer return.
The last time we saw Ben Henderson in an MMA cage was last November, when Michael Chandler defended his Bellator lightweight title by split decision over the former WEC and UFC champion. Henderson’s Bellator MMA career has seen him lose title fights in two weight classes, while picking up an injury TKO win over Patricio Freire in a fight he was arguably losing.
As it turns out, Henderson (24-7) has been dealing with a heavily damaged knee throughout his run in Bellator. Bendo explained to MMAjunkie what happened and how he’s dealt with it over his last three fights.
“(The injury occurred) about two months before the Andrey Koreshkov fight, actually, but I didn’t feel like it really affected my performance,” Henderson said. “I don’t make excuses. It didn’t affect any of my performances. I was able to be smart about it and train the way I wanted to for all my fights. But for the Chandler fight, it had got worse and worse and worse. Just gradually it got worse, and I wasn’t able to do certain things.
“(For) the Chandler fight, I didn’t have the training camp I wanted, and it became tougher for me to do the things I wanted to do. It become difficult for me to have the type of training camp I know I’m supposed to have. No excuses at all for whether I got my hand raised or whether I lost. But it became so hard and tough for me to maintain my output at such a high level, I knew it was time to have the surgery.”
The 33-year-old has never pulled out of a fight in his entire WEC/UFC/Bellator career, and amazingly fought through multiple torn ligaments. He recently underwent surgery and has his target date for his return.
“My surgeon has said nine to 12 months because it wasn’t just the ACL; it was ACL, MCL and meniscus,” Henderson said. “Because it’s everything it was, he recommends a longer layoff so I can do my due diligence with the rehab and all that stuff. He says nine to 12 months, but I’m a little bit more optimistic than that with me being the fighter I am. I’m a little bit more risky, so we’ll see.
“I want to be in there before nine months. I had surgery on Dec. 19, so basically at the beginning of the year in January is when my rehab started. If I can make it back before the ninth of September – I don’t want to push it and be crazy, but late July, maybe August. I want to have that Adrian Peterson comeback.”
When Henderson does return, he’ll be looking to avoid dropping to 1-3 since leaving the UFC in free agency to sign with Bellator MMA. Now that he’s fixed the problems with his knee, hopefully we can see “Smooth” at his best the next time he fights.