Benson Henderson Looking to Return in February of 2014

Duane FinleyContributor ISeptember 25, 2013

Benson Henderson is eyeing a comeback, but don't expect to see him inside the Octagon anytime soon.

According to reports on UFC Tonight, the former lightweight champion is looking to make his return to action in February of 2014, and with that projected time line, the 29-year-old MMA Lab product would be on the shelf for the next five months.

The report offered no additional details on why Henderson would be taking an extended lay-off, only that "Smooth" was shooting for a return early next year. Despite speculation he suffered damage to his elbow in the loss to Anthony Pettis at UFC 164, the Arizona native was given a clean bill of health in his post-fight exam.

The former 155-pound champion was handed his first loss under the UFC banner last month in Milwaukee against Pettis, as his seven-fight winning streak and four consecutive title defenses came to an abrupt halt at UFC 164. The setback against Pettis was only the third of his professional career, and his second to the man who now carries the lightweight title.

With a projected date so far down the road, it is difficult to speculate who Henderson could potentially face in his return. The lightweight division is one of the deepest, most talent-rich collections under the UFC banner, and the competitive nature of the weight class means the landscape in the upper-tier of the division is in constant flux. 

Nevertheless, Henderson's status as one of the best 155-pound fighters in the world is certified, and he'll certainly get a top-ranked challenge in his return to action in February.