Benson Henderson: These Split Decision losses are burning my soul

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Benson Henderson fought 14 times in the past five years, and six of them ended by Split Decision. He defended the UFC lightweight title in a rematch with Frankie Edgar via Split Decision, and defended it vs. Gilbert Melendez the same way. When he lost his title to Anthony Pettis, his next fight was a Split Decision win over Josh Thompson. Henderson left the UFC on a Split Decision vs. Jorge Masvidal. Those four Split Decisions were wins; however, his last two fights in Bellator MMA were Split Decision losses, vs. Michael Chandler for the lightweight belt, and on Friday night to Patricky Freire in the main event of Bellator 183.

After the event, Henderson vowed to make some changes.

“I think that either way, win or lose, I need to stop having close fights,” said Henderson to Mike Bohn and John Morgan for MMAjunkie. “[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 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.”

“I think if I had a technical reason for it, maybe cage control or damage done while you have the cage control. Maybe the number of significant strikes thrown from cage control. You’ve got to find the way to word it, exactly. 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.”

“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]. This burns my soul. This does not feel good. It is burning inside. You have to learn how 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.”

“For me, it’s always get back in there right away. I’m pretty healthy. No black eyes or not beat up or too sore or nothing like that. I’d like to get back in there right away, but who knows what Bellator is going to say, match-wise, who I’m going to match up with next. That’s a whole spaghetti and pile of noodles I don’t want to worry about.”