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Fatherhood hasn't changed Henderson's priorities inside the cage

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Keys to victory: Pitbull vs. Henderson (2:02)

Jimmy Smith goes over the keys to victory for Benson Henderson and Patricio Freire ahead of their August 26th fight. (2:02)

A week out from his super fight against Patricio "Pitbull" Freire and Benson Henderson has already downed his sixth cup of coffee of the day. The java isn't directly related to his fight prep, but instead to a new calling.

"Life with a newborn is tiring. I'm very sleep deprived," Henderson told ESPN.com. "It's pretty amazing. I wouldn't change it for the world."

Henderson (23-6) is the father of a son, Kyung, who turned one earlier this month. For the 32-year-old, being a father hasn't changed his professional goals. He's still looking to put on a show Friday at Bellator 160 against Freire in the main event.

After losing his Bellator debut to Andrey Koreshkov at welterweight in April, Henderson is dropping down to lightweight against Freire, normally a featherweight. The winner will have a date with 155 pound champ Michael Chandler down the road. In addition to that, becoming a dad has added a new focus and drive to Henderson's life.

"As a father, my priorities are still the same, I still want to be the best fighter on the planet, but above that I want to be the best father I can be. I want to be the best father on the planet, so I make sure that my son comes first," said Henderson. "I've got to do this, I've got to do that, so if that means I have to wake up at 5:09 in the morning, I set my alarm for 5:09 to get that early, early morning workout."

"Smooth" does those workouts at his gym, The MMA LAB, in Glendale, Ariz. He describes it as a family friendly atmosphere, where moms and dads can take a jiu-jitsu class or work on strength and conditioning while the kids are doing a wrestling class. Saying a gym has family atmosphere is one thing, but this is legitimate. Henderson told The Fighter and the Kid podcast that the godfather and godmother to his son belong to the team.

"We truly care about each other, helping each other. We want each other to live our dreams. They're helping me live my dream, I'm trying to help them live their dreams. Without that kind of support, being a fighter is hard, it's tough."

You may recall seeing Henderson propose to his then girlfriend, Maria, on national television minutes after beating Gilbert Melendez to defend his UFC lightweight title in April 2013. She said yes, and they tied the knot the following January. Maria also trains at the gym and is a gold medalist at the 2014 IBJJF World Jiu-Jitsu No-Gi Championship in the purple belt division. Needless to say, she can hold her own on the mats.

"I'm man enough to admit, she has gotten me twice legitimately," Henderson told The Fighter and the Kid podcast.

"As a father, my priorities are still the same, I still want to be the best fighter on the planet, but above that I want to be the best father I can be." Ben Henderson

Although he has his little "friend" at the gym each day, Henderson states he won't push his son into the sport. He'll leave it up to Kyung to come to him if he wants to be involved in martial arts. If he gets interested in jiu-jistu, Benson says he'll have a gi in just the right size ready to go. Seeing all the positive impacts martial arts have made in his own life, Benson intends to raise his family in the same fashion, but Kyung may have already have the itch, even if he hasn't said so yet.

"He'll be at the gym as we're teaching class. As we're practicing, before he was walking, he was punching the bag and kicking the bag like almost falling over but kicking the bag," Henderson told The Fighter and the Kid podcast.

Henderson met with a few boxers while promoting Spike's doubleheader weekend of combat sports, kicked off by Bellator 160 on Friday, then Premier Boxing Champions on Saturday. He remarked at how some of them stated they'd go away from their families for a 12-week camp and how that wouldn't work for him.

"I don't think I operate quite that way," said Henderson. "For this fight, for all my fights, my family will be with me pretty much the whole week."