UFC alum Benson Henderson admits to fighting with toothpick in mouth, reveals he swallowed it accidentally

Benson Henderson, UFC, Bellator

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)

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. 

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“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. 

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. 

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