Benson Henderson plans ACL surgery, Chandler rematch

Benson Henderson, pictured here in a Bellator welterweight world title fight against Andrey Koreshkov from back in April, is electing to get surgery on a torn ACL that he's had since he started fighting for the promotion. Williams Paul/Icon Sportswire

It sounds like Benson Henderson might be in some hot water with his wife, but he’s finally taking her advice.

Henderson (24-7) is coming off of a riveting five-round fight against Michael Chandler for the Bellator MMA lightweight championship on Nov. 19, which Henderson lost via split decision.

After the fight, Henderson mentioned a possible ACL surgery, and in a recent appearance on ESPN's 5ive Rounds podcast, the former UFC lightweight champion revealed he's been dealing with a torn ACL all year.

"I've had a torn ACL in all of my Bellator fights," said Henderson, who signed with the promotion in February.

Henderson, 33, first suffered the injury while training for a welterweight title fight against Andrey Koreshkov in April. Henderson knew the knee wasn't 100 percent, but didn't get it checked out until after the fight, which he lost via decision.

"I got the MRI back and the doctor said it was a torn ACL, completely ruptured," Henderson said. "It felt fine, though. I passed all the tests. I ran, jumped, cut left and right. Doctors said, 'If you can do that, there's nothing saying you have to have surgery. We can't tell you to have surgery.'

"I tested it again against [Patricio Freire in August] and hurt it some more. Then against Chandler, I actually hurt it a couple more times during training. My coaches and my wife said I probably shouldn't take the fight, or I at least had to have surgery after.

"So, I was told by my wife I had to have ACL surgery, and that's what I'm doing."

Henderson is expected to undergo surgery before the end of the year. Typically, it takes at least a full year for a fighter to get back in a cage following ACL surgery, but Henderson said he's hopeful he could return within "six to seven months."

Fighting out of Glendale, Arizona, Henderson is 1-2 in his Bellator career. His move to Bellator in 2016 represented a major free agency signing for the promotion. Henderson defended the UFC lightweight championship three times and headlined 10 events.

He admitted there were some aspects of the Chandler fight he'd go back and change but still feels the victory should have gone his way. Chandler looked hurt after the fourth round and spent most of the fifth trying to survive. Final scores were in Chandler's favor: 48-46, 48-47, 46-48.

Bellator president Scott Coker told ESPN.com he initially had interest in booking Henderson against Josh Thomson next, but Henderson's schedule is now indefinitely tied up due to surgery.

When he does return, a Chandler rematch seems to be at the top of his list.

"I will fight Chandler again and I will make him quit," Henderson said. "He was pretty damn close to quitting the last time. Next time, I'll make him quit all the way."