Bellator star Benson Henderson is ruthless fighter in the cage, but super dad out with MMA fighter wife Maria

BENSON HENDERSON is a ruthless MMA fighter in the cage – but a super dad outside.

The Bellator lightweight, 38, loves nothing more than debriefing on the latest Power Rangers episode with his kids after a grueling training session.

40-game veteran Benson Henderson says he's stayed "more responsible" after having children

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40-game veteran Benson Henderson says he has become “more responsible” after having childrenCredit: Credit: Lucas Noonan/BELLATOR
Henderson has four children with his wife Maria, who is also an MMA fighter

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Henderson has four children with his wife Maria, who is also an MMA fighter
Henderson and his wife Maria met at the gym and have become a power couple in MMA

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Henderson and his wife Maria met at the gym and have become a power couple in MMA

Henderson will be watched in Dublin’s 3Arena for his Bellator 285 main event showdown with Peter Queally on Saturday night by his four children and wife Maria, who is also an MMA fighter.

‘Smooth’ told SunSport: “Kids don’t care if you’re one of the best athletes in the world. To them you’re just mum or dad.

“They couldn’t care less about any of that, so it’s really refreshing to come home and the only care in the world is Power Rangers.

“They’re like ‘this happened on the Power Rangers show’ and you’re like ‘no way, oh my goddess!’

Bellator's Queally meteoric rise from sleeping in car to facing Henderson
Peter Queally will fight Patricky Freire for the lightweight title at Bellator Dublin

“You release some of the stress you were carrying that you didn’t realize you had from work and the gym.

“It’s a lot of work at the same time. If you’ve had two hard practices that day, your butt kicked, and your kids will say 75 times ‘pick me up and blow me up dad.’

“I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Becoming a father has cut the 40-fight veteran into a different man since he entered the pro scene in 2006.

Henderson will headline Dublin's 3Arena on Saturday night for his Bellator 285 main event showdown with Peter Queally

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Henderson will headline Dublin’s 3Arena on Saturday night for his Bellator 285 main event showdown with Peter QueallyCredit: Credit: Lucas Noonan/BELLATOR
Bellator's 'Smooth' is aiming for a title shot after aiming to stop Queally in Dublin

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Bellator’s ‘Smooth’ is aiming for a title shot after aiming to stop Queally in DublinCredit: Credit: Lucas Noonan/BELLATOR

He’s even stopped using his infamous toothpick that he fought with in his mouth out of concern that they were copying him.

The habit first emerged during his lightweight title defense against Nate Diaz in 2012.

It then notably showed up in his fights with Brandon Thatch and Jorge Masvidal in 2015.

Henderson added: “As a father and a man who had children, I made myself more responsible.

“I’m late everywhere I go and it made me prioritize not being late for certain things.

“You can’t be late for your child’s pediatrician or drop off your child on their first day of school.

Hederson and his wife Maria have grown into a power couple in MMA after meeting in the gym.

Maria beat Melanie McIntyre in her pro MMA debut at LFA 135 in Phoenix in June.

And Henderson, who helps coach Maria, is excited to share his journey in the sport with his wife.

He added: “My wife is my anchor, she’s amazing, I’m a bit biased. It’s nice to have someone who understands the job.

“You try to talk to your spouse and explain what the job is, but it’s hard to explain what you’re going through,

“But when you’re sitting right next to them and they’re going through it, you know you have their support.”

Following Henderson’s fight with Queally, his family plan to enjoy the Dublin sites before a holiday in Copenhagen, Denmark.

That means Maria is looking at late December or early January for her next fight, with talk of a Bellator show in Phoenix.

But first, Henderson plans to stop Dublin fan favorite Queally on his home turf.

He said: “I’m excited. I fought in Dublin once before. I thought it was a bit of a sloppy fight.

– The crowd wasn’t as crazy as I wanted them to be, so I promised the Irish fans that I would come back and give them a better show.

“If I ever got the chance to come back out here I’d jump all over it. That’s what I did. Peter Queally in Dublin, let’s go.

“I want to make sure I work my butt off and get a stop against Queally and get myself a title shot after that.”

Watch Bellator Dublin: Henderson vs. Queally live on BBC Three Friday, September 23″

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