Former UFC and WEC lightweight champion Benson Henderson remains optimistic following a tough defeat Saturday at Bellator 183. Henderson lost to Patricky Freire via split decision. In his post-fight press conference, Henderson stated that he must provide a "better performance" to stop having "close fights."

Henderson's loss to Freire at Bellator 183 was his third in four fights under the Bellator banner. During his session with the media, he was asked if this is the end for him. Henderson explained that when a fighter is no longer hurt by the pain of defeat, then that is the time to hang up the gloves.

For the 33-year-old, this is not what he feels. He shared that falling to Freire burns his soul. This statement suggested that retirement is not a part of his plans. Henderson added that he must deal with the setback and use it to get better.

Rocky start

When Henderson left the UFC and headed to Bellator, there were big expectations for him. Unfortunately, he has yet to live up to them. In four fights since signing with the promotion, he is 1-3.

Henderson's first bout in Bellator (April 2016) was for the welterweight title against Andrey Koreshkov. He showed heart in that fight, though he was dominated by the Russian, who earned a unanimous decision win. Three months after that, Henderson returned to the lightweight division.

He bounced back with a TKO victory over Freire's younger brother Patricio. Following this, he was granted another championship opportunity in November. Henderson took on Michael Chandler for the lightweight crown. He did his best but was on the losing end of a split decision. His fourth contest was last Saturday's split decision loss to Freire.

At of the moment, Henderson's next opponent remains undetermined. In the post-fight press conference, "Smooth" said Bellator will decide his future.

Successful debut for Big Country

Another ex-UFC fighter who competed at Bellator 183 was Roy Nelson. "Big Country," who is a fan favorite, was a longtime heavyweight contender in the UFC ahead of his transfer to Bellator.

Nelson faced Javy Ayala in his Bellator debut.

Ayala swarmed Nelson early with his striking. The offense of Ayala forced Nelson to return to his roots, which is grappling. Nelson succeeded in taking down Ayala several times and controlling the fight while on the ground. In the end, this was enough for Nelson to begin his Bellator campaign triumphantly.