Retired MMA star Benson Henderson revealed that he fought with a toothpick in his mouth during a number of his fights. 

In an interview with Ariel Helwani of The MMA Hour last month, Henderson shared how he managed to fight with a toothpick inside the octagon.

“For a lot of fights, I had the toothpick, yeah,” Henderson said. “For a lot of fights. It was just a bad habit. I would literally, like, go out to lunch or dinner or breakfast, whatever — you know, you have the toothpicks from the restaurant. I would just forget I have it in, I would practice, I would do whatever. I’d leave it in for fights.”

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Henderson revealed his toothpick habit led to an accidental injury.

“I’d graduated college, and then I went home to surprise my mom,” Henderson said. “I surprised her when she was coming down the stairs, and I had a toothpick in like I always do, and I was a little bit older. I was mature enough to realize how dumb that was, how not smart that was, how crazy that was. But I scared her — and I swallowed my toothpick. (h/t MMA Fighting)

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Benson Henderson Retired at Bellator 292

Henderson, a former UFC and WEC lightweight champion, announced his retirement from MMA at Bellator 292, where he failed to capture the 155-pound title from Usman Nurmagomedov. 

“I told myself if I lose any of [my] last four fights then it’s about that time,” Henderson said post-fight at Bellator 292. “I’ve had a nice long run, I’ve done a lot of great things [and] was able to do a lot of amazing accomplishments.”

During his career, Henderson (30-12) fought multiple MMA stars, including Nate Diaz, Jorge Masvidal, Frankie Edgar, Michael Chandler and Donald Cerrone, to name a very select few. The Colorado Springs, Colorado native defended the WEC and UFC lightweight titles once and three times, respectively. 

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After a five-year stint with the UFC, Henderson signed with Bellator MMA in February 2016 and went 7-7 in 14 fights. The former title challenger competed for Bellator gold three times against Nurmagomedov, Chandler and Andrey Koreshkov. 

The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt was ESPN’s 2012 MMA Fighter of The Year. He earned three UFC Fight of The Night bonuses.

Marc Ray has lived his entire life in Houston, Texas, where he was born, raised and attended the University of Houston, studying broadcast journalism. As you may imagine, he spends much of his time watching mixed martial arts as part of his daily routine — not only to pump himself up, but also because he deeply enjoys the sport. Ray has worked for Houston Public Media, where he interned in the newsroom and produced community stories. Ray also created sports features in Houston for El Gato Media Network and occasionally produced content for an internship at AARP.