Benson Henderson on Freire Loss: “This Burns My Soul”

Benson Henderson
Image Credit: Bellator MMA

Former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson lost by way of a close split-decision to Patricky Freire at Bellator 183 on Saturday night

Henderson is not afraid to admit that losing hurts.

In fact, the 33-year-old can see a positive in his reaction what is his third loss in four fights in the promotion: it indicates that he still wants to fight. While his hunger is still present, Henderson would prefer not to have as many “close fights” going forward:

“I think that either way, win or lose, I need to stop having close fights,” Henderson told MMAJunkie.com post-fight. “(People say), ‘Oh, it was kind of close, maybe you could have won, you could have lost.’ Like, those close fights are killing me. It’s always nice to win a close fight, win a close split decision, but just being in a close decision, close split decision, split decision (all in a row) – those are just too close to have. You can’t have those. You have to have a better performance win or lose. You got to be in more decisive battles. It sucks.”

“For whatever reason, earlier on, I was winning those really close decisions, and I’ll take it. Now I’m not winning close decisions, so I have to do better. I have to be better to get my hand raised in those close decisions.”

As for walking away from the fight game, Henderson has no plans to give in just yet:

“When you get to a point where you’re losing and it doesn’t hurt, it doesn’t sting and you’re like, ‘Oh, I lost another one; oh, well’ (then you should retire),” Henderson said. “This burns my soul. This does not feel good. It is burning inside. You have to learn who to deal with it. Learn how to accept it, take it like a man, and get better from it. In no way, shape or form, am I not highly upset. But I know if I tear a TV off the wall and smash it, it doesn’t do anything. It’s just all theatrics. I know on Monday I need to get back in the gym and work on getting better so I don’t have close decisions, period.”