It was two years ago when Ben Henderson made the leap. In the mixed martial arts world, clear lines were established to differentiate between one promotion and another and its talent was the immediate signaler. However, once free agency hit the ever-evolving caged combat scene, fighters with an axe to grind or just looking for a newer challenge began to transition over from the UFC to Bellator and vice versa.
Henderson was one of the more higher profile fighters to do so.
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Since then the former UFC lightweight champion and victim of Anthony Pettis’ cage kick heard around the world has gone 1-3 under the Bellator lights, fought for two titles in two different weight classes and came up short in the process. He does have a victory over former champion Patricio Freire due to a leg injury. His next fight is April 6th and his quest to change his two-fight losing skid right now is tantamount because normally three losses in a row can send even the top-tier talent into the obscurity of the minor leagues.
Enter Roger Huerta, one of the first Mexican-American stars of the early UFC. After leaving in 2009 and immediately entering Bellator after being cut by the UFC, Huerta lost 2 of his three-fight deal and bounced into the wasteland that is international MMA competition. Huerta hasn’t fought on American soil or before the bright lights of the American audience since 2011 compiling a 3-3 record in international competition. From Jakarta to China and Dubai, one of the most marketable fighters vanished from the spotlight to focus on becoming a true traveling martial artist.
Bellator is headed back to Budapest! Don’t miss the epic match up between Benson Henderson and Roger Huerta at #Bellator196. #Bellator196 | FRIDAY, April 6th, 2018 | On Paramount Network at 9/8c Subscribe for more Bellator MMA content!
Now Huerta is back to fight Henderson and is currently on a two-fight winning streak. A win over Henderson would be huge due to Henderson’s stature as a former champion and draw and mark Huerta’s return to major competition. On the flipside, Henderson is facing the internal malestrom that affects all fighters on a losing skid, the fear of yet another loss and the cancellation of their contract. A win for Henderson would signal his return especially against a recognizable name like Huerta, however, Huerta knows he has the ability to literally retire Henderson or send him to the same journeyman status that can be perceived as a fall from grace by the audience at large.
With everything on the line, next weekend’s main event pairing by these two fighters at a crossroads in their tenured careers will be amazing to see from Budapest, a land that is far away from their American base and can be a precursor to the career expatriation either could face with a loss.