Former lightweight champion Benson Henderson moved up to welterweight in February to fight Brandon Thatch on short notice. The size difference between the much larger Thatch and "Smooth" was visibly stark, but Henderson still managed to beat the rising prospect.
According to a recent interview with the MMA Hour, Henderson revealed that he has plans to make the move to welterweight, permanent. "I think we decided, my coach and I, John Crouch, to go up to 170. We’re going to take the time off to rebuild my body," he said.
As is, Henderson would continue to be woefully undersized in comparison to most of the UFC’s welterweight division. Knowing this, he and his coach have developed a plan to bulk up, adding virtually no fat to his body.
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This will take a very specific program, and time. So, Henderson went on to explain that he plans to take time off from competition in order to bulk up, though he knows exactly when and where he wants to fight again.
"We’re going to do a whole new unveiling for 170. I’m trying to walk around at 182 to 185, walk around at maybe six- or five-percent body fat, and just be explosive. Really open some eyes up with my next fight at 170," he said.
"I’ll do whatever it is I physically, possibly can…I will be ready for that Korea card. And you’re going to see a whole new beast."
The UFC will put on a Fight Night card in Seoul, South Korea on Nov. 28. Henderson’s Brazilian jiu-jitsu competing mother is originally from South Korea, and it would no doubt be a special event for the MMA Lab athlete to fight in his mom’s homeland.
Of course, Henderson has been called out by Michael Johnson, who claimed the longtime top lightweight was afraid to fight him. Henderson said that he was injured, "the hardest thing" he’s had to go through in his career, thus far, and so pulled out of a planned bout with the Blackzilian.
Right now, Henderson says he still isn’t medically cleared to compete again, after his undisclosed injury. "I had an injury. I won’t be cleared for a little while," he said.
"So I had to respectfully bow out of that one. I was kind of disappointed in myself, but you’ve got do what the doctors say because ultimately they have the piece of paper they have to sign off for you, and my doctor wouldn’t do that. So I’m not cleared."
It would then appear as though Henderson will focus on changing his body composition, significantly, while he heals up from his injury. It will be interesting to see how different he looks and fights in late fall, should he unveil his new welterweight body then, as planned.