Benson Henderson wants to remain in the UFC. Benson Henderson also wants to make what he’s worth, and it’s the disparity between those two ideas that has him looking at testing out the market.
Henderson, the former UFC Lightweight Champion, completed his most recent contract last month at UFC Fight Night 79 with a win over Jorge Masvidal, moving him to 11-3 in 14 career fights in the organization. He admitted on Monday that he’d sign with the organization immediately if the terms were right, but as they haven’t been, he’s looking to maximize his earnings in what is a relatively short career.
“In a perfect world, I would like to re-sign with the UFC in five minutes or in 10 minutes,” Henderson said in an interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. “Or later tonight. As soon as possible. Re-sign with the UFC, get what we feel we’re worth and then fight. I’ll fight in December. If somebody falls out or gets hurt, I’m ready to go… I’d love to re-sign with the UFC and get right back in the cage.
“…That’s what ultimately you want,” he continued later when asked about wanting significant money out of his next deal. “You want to be able to take care of your kids. You want to be able to take care of your kids’ kids. I want to have a trust fund setup for my son’s grandson. That’s what I’m looking to do. I’m looking ahead seven generations. Hopefully I can get started in that right direction. But that’s why we wanted to get the best offer and weigh out the contract and just be smart about everything.
“You need other offers. You need other organizations to say this or to say that. When you bid on construction for a house, you have to have two or three other companies bid on the house and see who gives you the best deal. That’s what we feel we did with the UFC.”
Penick’s Analysis: Henderson’s on the right approach. If the UFC isn’t willing to give him off the bat what he thinks is his top dollar, someone else probably will be. He’s a valuable name whether he’s gotten criticism on his style or not. He draws people to his fights, and has since his run in the WEC. People will tune in to watch him fight, and he deserves to be paid as the elite competitor he is. Hopefully he winds up finding what he’s looking for, whether it’s in the UFC or not.
[Ben Henderson art by Grant Gould (c) MMATorch.com]