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Benson Henderson opens up about substance-free lifestyle: ‘I was around some bad examples’

Benson Henderson, a former UFC champion and Bellator fighter, reveals why he has never touched alcohol or drugs.

Benson Henderson, the former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight champion, made the decision from a young age to live a life without alcohol and drugs.

Henderson (28-10) is preparing to fight former Bellator Lightweight champion Brent Primus (10-2) at Bellator 268: “Nemvok vs. Anglickas”, taking place inside Footprint Center in Phoenix, Ariz. on Sat., Oct. 16 via Showtime. “Smooth” (No. 3 ranked LW) opens up about his abstinence from substance use in a new interview.

“I would say it’s from when I was a lot younger, having people in your life who abuse certain substances,” Henderson tells “A lot of people see their parents doing this or that and say, ‘I never want to drink or do this or do that. When I was younger, I saw my dad or uncle doing this.’ And then fast-forward 10 or 15 years and they’re doing the same thing. They have the same Bud Light can. They have the same cigarette... For me, I was around some bad examples when I was younger and decided I’m never going to do what they did. Ever. Not a chance. It was around the time I was 9, 10, 12 or so. I decided who I wanted to be and what type of man I wanted to become. I gave my life to Christ and I promised God no alcohol will pass these lips. I will never partake in any sort of cigarette or weed. Any sort of drugs. I’m okay, I’m good.

“It’s funny because people are always like, ‘Oh, I turned into my dad. I turned into my mom. I do the same thing they did.’ Man, if you know better, do better! If you see it and notice it, then change! Be better. Be better than that. People are like, ‘I hated my mom because she always yelled at me. She would always say, ‘just because.’’ And now you’re 25 and yelling at your kids, ‘just because.’ Take the time, slow down. I know kids can be hectic. I know kids can be kind of crazy. But slow down and don’t give that answer. Don’t say, ‘just because.’ You hate it when your mom says it to you, so don’t say it to your daughter.”

Henderson’s substance-free lifestyle does not mean the former UFC champion is without his vices.

“I’m a fat kid at heart. Anything and everything,” Henderson confessed. “I eat everything. My vice is food. Not just candy or sweets. Even healthy food. Like healthy spaghetti. I’m half Korean. Rice and kimchi. I just love food... That is my biggest problem.

“My wife is an amazing cook. My wife is my other vice, that’s my other vice right there,” he added (author’s note: talk about Smooth). “But my wife is an amazing cook. Her dad taught her everything. He was an executive chef. He cooked for two Presidents. He cooked for a couple of Sheiks or Shahs.”

Henderson, 37, is winless dating back to a Sept. 2019 unanimous decision over Myles Jury. His hit list includes victories over Frankie Edgar (twice), Donald Cerrone (twice), Nate Diaz, Jorge Masvidal, Gilbert Melendez, Josh Thomson, Jim Miller, Clay Guida and Patricio Pitbull.

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