Maria Henderson Discusses Turning Pro, Bellator 268 Win

Phoenix, AZ — In a bit of an unusual scene, Bellator 268 opened with an amateur bout. Of course, it all came down to who was fighting: Benson Henderson’s wife Maria.

“Smooth” was featured later in the evening, on the main card. Maria Henderson took part in an amateur flyweight scrap, the second fight of her young career. After a wee bit of adversity, she earned the submission win just 40 seconds into the fight with Collette Santiago.

There was no added pressure, no stress from sharing the card, Henderson (2-0 AMMA) said following her win.

“Ben trusts me to go in there and get the job done, and I did. And I trust him to do the same thing,” she told media outlets including Cageside Press. “So it’s not really stressful for either one of us to kind of be here together with each other. It’s almost better; you release serotonin, you release oxytocin being with each other.”

After such a quick win, a short turnaround might be in order, it was suggested. “Well, if Bellator wants to give me another opportunity— whatever is presented to us, that’s when we’ll take it,” Henderson replied.

As for her husband’s thoughts on the fight, “he said that was perfect,” Henderson revealed. “Couldn’t have done any better. He said it was perfect, that’s exactly what we wanted to do in there, go in there and finish it.”

Asked about a possible pro turn, Henderson told Cageside Press it was up to her coach and husband. “It depends on what [John] Crouch and Ben say. Obviously this was a really good performance, but they might want me to get a little bit more experience.” Arizona also requires a certain amount of amateur fights before turning pro, she added, although her first fight didn’t even come in Arizona. “I don’t know what the regulations are for that. We’ll have to see what that is, and go from there.”

Watch the full Bellator 268 post-fight press scrum with Maria Henderson above. More coverage can be found below.