Former UFC Champ Benson Henderson to Challenge for Bellator Belt in First Fight

February 2, 2016 has confirmed with Bellator officials that former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson will challenge for the Bellator welterweight title in his first fight for the promotion.

Henderson will face current titleholder Andrey Koreshkov for the 170-pound championship on April 22 at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn. The bout was first reported by

The news comes just 24 hours after Henderson revealed that he had signed with Bellator instead of re-upping with the UFC.

“I’d like to officially announce my move over to Bellator MMA,” Henderson wrote on his website. “I’m beyond excited for this next phase of my career, it’s a big move, like any move when switching employers or jobs after having worked somewhere for such a long time.”

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The move followed a seven-year tenure with Zuffa, becoming a champion first in the WEC and then in the UFC.

04-Benson-Henderson-UFC-150-w_3529Henderson, in an interview with on Monday, said he expected his first fight for the promotion would be a title shot. The only question appeared to be in which division – lightweight or welterweight – that he would challenge for the belt.

“Coming over from the UFC with what I’ve accomplished, yes, we knew we would have a title shot in whichever weight class we decided,” Henderson told ESPN.

We now know that Henderson (23-5), coming off of back-to-back welterweight victories over Brandon Thatch and Jorge Masvidal, will challenge Koreshkov for the belt.

Koreshkov (18-1) may be a new target for Henderson, but he promises not to be an easy target. His lone defeat was to Ben Askren, who is the undefeated ONE Championship titleholder and a former Bellator champion. The Russian has since won five consecutive fights. He holds victories over the likes of Marius Zaromskis, Lyman Good, Nah-Shon Burrell, and Douglas Lima.

Koreshkov vs. Henderson headlines Bellator 153 on April 22 at the Mohegan Sun.

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