Former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson is firmly in the final chapter of his fighting career, but he has no plans to coast to the finish line.
Henderson takes on Dublin’s Peter Queally at the 3Arena in Friday night’s main event of Bellator 285, and said that, rather than relaxing in the final bouts of his career, he’s ramping up the pressure on himself to hit the heights and go out on top.
“This is the last four fights of my career,” he said during media day.
“Give it all I’ve got, the best I’ve got. After that, I’m done, and then it’s my wife’s turn. Give her a chance to be a world champion.
“I’ll pick up the kids from school, take them to chess practice, make meals; I’ll do all that stuff. It puts that much more pressure. For the rest of my life, I’ve got four (fights) left.
“I think it adds more pressure, but I always add more pressure to myself to get the most out of myself.”
He’ll face a tough test on Friday against Queally, a prodigiously tough Irish lightweight who has only been finished once in his career.
Queally’s last outing saw him lose out to Patricky Pitbull in his quest to capture the Bellator lightweight title, but “The Showstopper” remains one of the top 155-pounders on the Bellator roster. It’s a fact Henderson is well aware of heading into Friday’s bout.
“Peter’s tough. He’s a veteran. He’s a tough guy, and I think it’s going to be a good fight,” he said.
“He’s going to go in there and try to beat me up, and I’m going to try to beat him up. I’m gonna do what I’m gonna do.”
He may not necessarily receive the lion’s share of the support from the Irish fans in the 3Arena, but Henderson still feels an affinity to the Dublin crowd. He fought in front of them at Bellator 227 back in 2019, when he edged a lacklustre unanimous decision over Myles Price.
After that fight, Henderson vowed he would return to put on a more entertaining fight for the Irish fans, and now he’s got that chance, he plans to make the most of it.
“I want to give the Irish fans a better show,” he said.
“I felt, after the Jury fight, a little lacklustre. I felt it wasn’t my best performance, and I think a fighter like Peter Queally, that’s going to bring the best out of me.
“I’m bringing out the whole family this time, and we’re going to explore Dublin and all of Ireland and go sightseeing a little bit.
“The Irish fans were amazing. A great experience, great vibe, great energy from the crowd. I like to think of us more as athletes, but I’m realistic – we’re entertainers as well. And as an entertainer, to be in that environment, it’s electrifying. It’s all of it.
“Overall, the entire experience in Dublin has been awesome. I generally have a good experience, but Dublin last time I was here was something else. The crowd was amazing. The ‘Sweet Caroline,’ it’s cool to see a crowd so pumped up for a fight.”
With just a handful of fights left in his career Henderson has a clear plan to finish his career in style, and hopes to bring the curtain down on a stellar career with one final honour, the Bellator lightweight championship.
“After I get my hand raised against Peter Queally, I’ll either beat up Pitbull in a soccer stadium in Brazil, or I’ll fight with a Russian, and let’s do that in a soccer stadium,” he said.
“But I’m going to end with a Bellator title wrapped around my waist. What I can control is what’s inside the cage. You guys can say whatever you want to say … you can write about it for years, but for the athletes, we’re just concerned about being the best we can.”