While Benson Henderson announced on Monday that he is Bellator-bound, UFC President Dana White — surprisingly enough — has nothing but kind words for the former UFC Lightweight Champion. Well, sort of.
White spoke with the folks at MMAJunkie.com about Benson Henderson’s decision not to re-sign with the UFC, opting instead to accept an offer from rival MMA promotion Bellator. According to White, “Smooth” Henderson turned down an offer that would have paid him “substantially more” than he was making previously, but only if he were to become UFC Champion again.
“The truth is we made him an offer that would have paid him substantially more – like not even in the same ballpark – than he’s getting now if he were to become world champion again,” White said. “But he chose [Bellator’s] deal, which offered more up front.”
The UFC boss continued, revealing his belief that despite being 2-0 in his last two fights since making the move up to the 170-pound welterweight division, Henderson is on his way down the rankings, not the other way around.
“He’s a former world champion who’s ranked number 15 now,” said White. “We’re looking for top five guys, guys that are going from 15 to one, not the other way around.”
Benson Henderson (23-5, 11-3 UFC) last fought at UFC Fight Night 79 in November of 2015, defeating Jorge Masvidal by way of split decision in a five round main event.