Benson Henderson’s free agency period lasted less than two months.
Promotional officials revealed on Wednesday that Henderson has re-signed with Bellator to a multi-fight deal. In addition, multiple people with knowledge of the promotion’s plans confirmed to MMA Fighting that Henderson will face Peter Queally at Bellator’s return to Dublin, which will take place Sept. 23 at the 3Arena. The Sun was first to report the booking.
“Smooth” entered his Bellator 273 bout in January on the last fight of his deal, on a three-fight losing streak, and as a massive underdog against Islam Mamedov. After an exciting, hard fought battle, Henderson came away with a split decision victory.
Henderson, a former UFC lightweight champion, signed with Bellator in February 2016 and is 6-6 in 12 promotional appearances. Following the win over Mamedov, Henderson wasn’t sure where his career would take him, or if he would even continue competing. During a February appearance on The MMA Hour, Henderson hoped he would stick around with Bellator if they wanted him — despite feeling he may not have lived up to expectations.
“I want to get a Bellator belt wrapped around my waist. I need that Bellator belt,” Henderson said.
“Actually, I feel bad for Bellator. I feel like I underperformed my contract for Bellator. They paid me a lot of money, so I think that I should have done a better job for Bellator. I didn’t do what they brought me over for. A big, huge free agent signing — you know that carries weight, that carries implications with it. I’m supposed to bring a Super Bowl title. When you’re a big free agent like that, you’re supposed to bring a Super Bowl back to your team and I don’t think I did that. I don’t think I ever had great performances.”
Queally returns to action for the first time since suffering a second-round TKO loss to Patricky Pitbull for the vacant lightweight title at Bellator 270 this past November. The 33-year-old was slated to return at Bellator 275 this past month before he was forced to withdraw with an injury.
Guilherme Cruz contributed to this report.