"I'm definitely getting noticed more (fighting on FOX), that's for sure. Everywhere we go, and it's cool. Take the good with the bad, the pros with the cons. It's nice. It's not going to happen for the rest of my life. It's going to happen for what? Two, three, four more years or so, then after that, you know, it's not going to happen anymore ... Anderson's at 10 [consecutive title defenses] now, I fight three more years, three fights each year that will put me at nine. I have two already - or one already then I'm done after that. I'm going to get one past his record. Fighting's hard man, fighting's tough. You're getting beat up on the body - you saw me this morning in the weight room and stuff. It takes a toll on your body, so by the time I hit 33 I intend on retiring. I'm done after that."
-- Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight kingpin Benson Henderson tells Ariel Helwani on MMA Fighting that his exit strategy from mixed martial arts (MMA) competition is already in place as "Smooth" plans to walk away from the sport at 33 years old -- roughly four years from now. The champion, currently 29, wants to surpass middleweight champion Anderson Silva's record for most consecutive UFC title defenses before his career comes to a close, and the way he is dominating the 155-pound division in the UFC, it wouldn't be shocking to see him pull it off inside the given time frame. Historically speaking, though -- Henderson's comments should be taken with a grain of salt. "The Spider" has repeatedly said over the years he was going to retire at 35, yet here he is at 38, still competing and on the verge of signing a new 10-fight contract with the UFC that would keep him around for several years to come. If Henderson can accomplish similar feats to Silva, his reputation --and more importantly, his pay grade-- will catapult upwards and will only make it more difficult to walk away. As of now, though, Henderson is focused on moving one step close to his ultimate goal by defeating Gilbert Melendez in the main event of UFC on FOX 7 this Saturday night (April 20, 2013) at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California.
Do you think Henderson will walk away at 33? Or will his continued success in the sport change his mindset in the coming years? Share your opinion in the comments section below.
MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the main card action on fight night (Sat., April 20, 2013), which is slated to air at 8 p.m. ET on FOX. The latest play-by-play fight updates of the live action will begin to flow earlier than that, however, around 3:30 p.m. ET with the "Prelims" undercard bouts on Facebook and FX Channel.
For more news and notes on UFC on FOX 7, check out our complete event archive here.