Bellator star Benson Henderson is ruthless fighter in the cage but super-dad out of it with MMA fighting wife Maria

BENSON HENDERSON is a ruthless MMA fighter in the cage – but a super-dad out of it.

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

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40-fight veteran Benson Henderson says he has become “more responsible” after having kidsCredit: 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 in the gym and have become a power couple in MMA

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

Henderson will be watched on in Dublin’s 3Arena for his Bellator 285 main event clash with Peter Queally on Saturday night by his four kids 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 entire world. To them you’re just mummy or daddy.

“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 in the Power Rangers show’ and you’re like ‘no way, oh my goddess!’

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

“You drop some of the stress you were wearing 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 throw me in the air daddy’.

“I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Becoming a father has carved the 40-fight veteran into a different man since he stepped onto the pro scene in 2006.

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

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Henderson will headline Dublin’s 3Arena on Saturday night for his Bellator 285 main event clash 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 has even stopped using his infamous toothpick that he fought with in his mouth out of concern for them copying him.

The habit first came to light during his lightweight title defense against Nate Diaz in 2012.

It then made notable reappearances in his bouts with Brandon Thatch and Jorge Masvidal in 2015.

Henderson added: “As a father and a man having kids made me more responsible.

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

“You can’t be late to your kid’s pediatrician appointment or dropping your kid off on their first day at 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 thrilled to be sharing his journey in the sport with his wife.

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

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

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

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

It 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 lacklustre fight.

“The crowd wasn’t going as crazy as I wanted them to so I promised the Irish fans I’ll be back out there and give them a better show.

“If I was ever presented the chance to come back out here I’ll jump all over that. Thats what I did. Peter Queally in Dublin let’s go.

“I’ll make sure I work my butt off and get a stoppage against Queally and get my get a title shot after that.”

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

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