Morning Report: Benson Henderson hopeful for February 2014 return

Esther Lin

After dropping his title to Anthony Pettis at UFC 164 in August, it sounds like former lightweight champion Ben Henderson will be taking some time off before returning to action.

As reported by Ariel Helwani on Wednesday's UFC Tonight, Henderson is eyeing February 2014 as a possible return window. According to his manager, Malki Kawa, Henderson doesn't have a specific opponent in mind, but wants 'someone who puts them back into the title picture.'

Henderson, who was armbarred into submission by Pettis, seemed to be in agony following the bout, unable to even fully put his arm into his shirt sleeve at the post-fight press conference. Initially cleared by Dr. Brian Shafer, an elbow specialist, Henderson was told he suffered only a minor injury with no real structural damage.

"My elbow isn't going to be an issue," Henderson said in a statement. "Dr. Shafer said I can resume training immediately, but to take it slow and steady for a couple of weeks and do my rehab work. Of course, I am anxious to get going full speed again but I will be smart and patient about it as well."

Of course, each fighter's situation is unique, but keep in mind the UFC doesn't have a tendency to rush dethroned champions back into action. Cain Velasquez (six months), Junior dos Santos (six months), Mauricio Rua (five months) and Anderson Silva (six months) have all had lengthy layoffs after losing their straps.

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4 MUST-READ STORIES

Scrums. Check out a plethora of great Dana White scrum videos from the UFC's media tour stop in Las Vegas. Dana talks Sonnen vs. Silva, Tito Ortiz and his 'super friends,' and Jones vs. Gustafsson 2.

Decisive win. After exhaling from Saturday night's main event, Jon Jones now feels his win over Alexander Gustafsson was decisive, making him weary of a future rematch. Instead, he'd rather move forward to the next challenge.

Cyborg. Cris Cyborg believes Ronda Rousey is 'mentally sick,' while saying she'd like to fight her in a non-title catchweight bout. "If I keep knocking people out, nothing will hide what I'm doing. (Dana White) won't stop me. Every MMA fan wants to watch to see me in the UFC."

WADA? VADA? An upset Georges St-Pierre tries to set the record straight on the hectic back and forth between he and Johny Hendricks on independent drug screenings. "I wanted to prove to the world that you can be the world champion without using steroids. I've never used steroids in my life, and I wanted to make a point for myself."

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MEDIA STEW

Free Fight: Brock Lesnar vs. Cain Velasquez.

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Dana White interview in Studio Q.

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Cain Velasquez talks Junior Dos Santos and Jon Jones.

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Rampage vs. Tito Bellator spot.

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GLORY 11 Chicago - Tyrone Spong pre-fight Interview.

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Harry McLeman vs. Matt Hallam at BAMMA 13.

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Fightland chats with Javier Mendez.

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TWEETS

Good news.

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Sounds good to me.

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There's a lot more to this but ... don't hurt yourself.

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Respect the cane.

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Hang in there.

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Really.

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Muddy.

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Very cool.

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Plan accordingly.

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TUF reactions. <>

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced yesterday (Sept. 25 2013)

Dennis Siver vs. Manny Gamburyan at UFC 168

Rony Jason vs. Jeremy Stephens at UFC Fight Night 32

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day comes via Connor Ruebusch.

Heavy Hands 3: Jon Jones and the First Line of Defense

Episode 3 of Heavy Hands, and this time we're talking about Jon Jones' epic fight with Alexander Gustafsson: what Jones could have done better, and why he allowed Gustafsson to outbox him so thoroughly.

Then, I spend the rest of the episode discussing a concept I call "the first line of defense." In other words, I break down the various methods that fighters have at their disposal to defend themselves, and which one is the most important to have in place.

...

Check out the rest of the post here.

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Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me up on Twitter @SaintMMA and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.

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