UFC Bellator 268 family outing wasn’t Maria and Benson Henderson’s idea Tv Channel
PHOENIX – Benson Henderson and Maria Henderson are on the verge of competing on the same card for the first time.
The married couple have been training together for years at the MMA Lab in Glendale, Ariz., and will now have the opportunity to compete at the same event close to home.
Their fights take place at Bellator 268 at the Footprint Center in Phoenix. The event airs on Showtime following prelims streamed on MMA Junkie.
The family outing wasn’t their own idea, but it came together a few months ago when trying to find a fight for Maria (1-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA). According to Benson (28-10 MMA, 5-5 BMMA), Bellator matchmaker Mike Kogan said he could find a fight for his wife on the Phoenix card, which worked out well for all parties. Then Kogan took it a step further and asked if Benson could be ready to compete as well.
“I was like, uhh, October? In Phoenix? My wife’s on the card? I’ll make sure I’m ready,” Benson explained to MMA Junkie. “I’ll be ready for sure, and that was pretty much the gist of it. We sent a couple, two, or three text messages and it was done.”
Benson, who takes on Brent Primus (10-2 MMA, 8-2 BMMA) on the main card, will be looking to snap a two-fight skid after losses to Jason Jackson at Bellator 253 and Michael Chandler at Bellator 243. The bout will also be the former UFC champ and Bellator title challenger’s first and perhaps only fight of the calendar year.
Maria is coming off her first amateur fight in February at LFA 100 against Amanda Mitchell, a bout she win via unanimous decision. Now, she faces Collette Santiago (0-2 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) under the Bellator banner for her second amateur bout, which she hopes will spark an ongoing professional relationship.
“I’m super grateful to be able to have my second fight ever to be with Bellator,” Maria stated. “I would love to stay with Bellator. They’re a great team, I love everybody behind the scenes. As we’ve been saying, Bellator is really family-oriented and they’re really respectful of their fighters. They actually respect their fighters. …I’d love if that when I went pro, if they wanted to sign me, that would be really awesome.”
According to the couple, not much has changed in terms of preparation for this event. They have spent so much time training together in the past that the only difference heading into Saturday was preparing for their opponents and ramping up the intensity of the work they usually do inside the gym.
With Maria competing so early in the card, and Benson fighting later in the evening, he will be taking on cornering duties to coach his wife to victory on Saturday.
Check out the full pre-fight interview with Hendersons in the video above.