At 28 years of age, Henderson has been a wrestler and now a fighter for most of his life, and he’s been cutting weight for the last 16 years.
Like anything, weight cutting takes its toll on the body and while Henderson has no plans of leaving the lightweight division any time soon, he eventually believes he’ll have to fight at welterweight when the weight cutting becomes too hard.
“155 is my weight class and I’m going to own it. I want 55 to be synonymous with myself, I want to be synonymous with the 55-pound weight class, but that being said, the older you are the harder it is to cut weight,” Henderson told MMAWeekly Radio.
“I’m getting a little bit older now and cutting weight sucks.”
If you’ve ever watched a weigh-in where Henderson is fighting, it’s pretty common place for the former WEC champion to need a towel and a complete lack of clothing to make the 156-pound weight limit for his lightweight bouts.
Other fighters, like current UFC contender Dan Henderson, have also remarked how much weight cutting plays a factor when it comes to the decision to choose what weight class they fight at. Henderson has said on numerous occasions that the only fight that interests him at middleweight is a rematch with current 185-pound king Anderson Silva, but outside of that he has no desire to cut weight that low again.
While Benson Henderson has several years left at lightweight, he knows that as age catches up to him and his body continues to change, he’ll have to reevaluate decisions when it comes to cutting weight.
“There’s a few guys who’ve said things pretty similar as far as cutting weight when you get older, how hard it is. Dan (Henderson) is a perfect example. He’s wrestled forever. I wrestled and cut weight six months, seven months out of the year since I was 12 years old. It’s kind of getting old. I don’t like it so much anymore,” Henderson commented.
“It is hard on the body. People don’t realize how much of a factor it is. Thankfully, I hired a nutritionist, Travis Jeffries, full time and been a little bit smarter about it. As I get older, I eat healthier, try to eat the right things, make all these little sacrifices that it takes to be a champion.”
While he’s considered a very large lightweight, right now Henderson would be on the smaller side of some of the fighters who currently compete in the welterweight division. Monsters like Thiago Alves cut from over 190 pounds to make the 170-pound limit, but Henderson knows that with a new weight class comes new challenges to find victory.
“Hopefully, eventually my technique catches up where I can hang with guys that are freaking 20 pounds heavier than me, and use more of my speed when they’re bigger and slower, and my technique makes up for them being stronger than me,” Henderson stated.
It’s not happening tomorrow, but Henderson is in MMA for the long haul and to ensure that his body holds up, a move to welterweight will eventually be in the cards.