Divine Styler



Henderson’s infatuation with mixed martial arts led him to shunning the police force and their entry level salary of $45,000 a year in favor of getting punched in the face for a living for a measly $100 a fight. As you can imagine, all wasn’t well in the house of Henderson. “My mom was so happy that I had a career right out of college,” he says. “Then I told her, ‘I think I want to try this fighting stuff.’ She asked me how much money I made and I told her. She wasn’t exactly thrilled with my new career choice.”

But Henderson stuck to his guns and after dropping his third professional fight, he vowed to step his game up to one day become a champion. He entered World Extreme Cagefighting with a 7-1 record and ripped through the competition to become the undisputed lightweight champion in January 2010. Although he would lose his title via a razor thin decision to Anthony Pettis in the final WEC show before the UFC merger this past December, he already solidified his place as one of the fastest rising stars in the sport. As a child who successfully made it out of the Washington ghetto, Henderson is aware of his influence as a UFC fighter and the impact he can have on the youth in his community by being a role model. Today you can find the urban youth of Tacoma wearing the singlet or practicing jiujitsu trying to be like Henderson instead of Jordan

“The core demographic in the hood weren’t hip to MMA, but after they watch one or two fights, they’re hooked,” he says. “Hopefully I can be that person to bridge the gap [between the urban youth and MMA]. Anytime I can be a little bit of a positive influence on a young kid’s life, I’m all about that.”