This week’s latest Roundtable Topic: Who has more at stake in Saturday’s main event? Dan Henderson, to avoid looking like he stuck around too long? Or Michael Bisping, who risks failing to avenge his most devastating loss and could invalidate his recognition as a serious Middleweight Champion? The following is the second of three batches of responses from the MMATorch Team.
But before reading the Roundtable, vote in our poll regarding Saturday’s main event title fight at UFC 204:
CHRISTOPHER KING, MMATorch contributor
Michael Bisping has more to loose. Many do not see him as a true champion and believe he got lucky against Luke Rockhold who made the mistake of not taking him seriously enough. If he were to loose to Dan Henderson, while he has achieved his dream, in the eyes of his critics, he never truly deserved the opportunity in the first place as he was a late replacement for Chris Weidman at UFC 199. He got lucky to win the belt and he could loose it to a 46 year old who has lost six out of his last nine fights. For Henderson, he has the opportunity to win the one belt that has eluded him, and the only thing he has to lose is never obtaining a UFC belt. This, he knows is his last fight, and it would be a great way for him to leave the sport but as he knows he is retiring, he has very little to loose.
BYRAN KERN, MMATorch contributor
Dan Henderson said that, win or lose, this would be his last fight. That is monumental for him, given the only reason he is in this match is because of the calling for it among hardcore fans. If you think about it, Dan Henderson has the potential to make history this Saturday. The story and energy surrounding this fight is only found in movies… Seriously, if you’re not excited about this contest, you’re insane. Dan Henderson has the potential capture the UFC Middleweight Title in his last fight ever. Can you say the greatest sports story of all time? I can, and regardless of the outcome, Henderson has had a historic MMA career and is among the greatest to ever enter the cage. This Saturday is just an opportunity for him to put one last notch on his belt and further cement his legacy. He has everything to gain and nothing to lose with this match-up which many believe will give him enough mental clarity to be at his absolute best. We’ll have to wait an see if Hendo can make history one last time at UFC 204.
Michael Bisping, on the other hand, has everything to lose. He is not only defending his title for the first time, he is also facing the man who laid him to waste the back at UFC 100. That event will haunt Bisping until the end of time. The image of Henderson dive-bombing Bisping’s face into oblivion will forever be engraved in the history books. The only way for “The Count” to avenge that loss and correct that ship is to defeat Hendo this Saturday. It doesn’t have to be pretty, it doesn’t have to be vicious and highlight reel worthy, it just has to be a victory. Then, and only then, can Bisping consider this night a win. This is no easy task. Granted, Bisping has been the better fighter as of late. It doesn’t help that he too is at the tail end of his career and a loss will certainly erase him from that title picture all together. The pressure is on for Bisping. The question is: Is it to much pressure? Many will say it is. The only real advantage he has going in to this match up on Saturday is that it’ll be in Manchester. Bisping has never lost on home soil and, if he has anything to say about it, it’ll stay that way.
ROBERT VALLEJOS, MMATorch contributor
Bisping could really be in a tough spot here. If he wins, he does avenge his loss from UFC 100, but how much can be gained by beating a 46 year old Dan Henderson? If Bisping loses, his title reign will be considered a total fluke. Henderson has nothing to lose here. If he goes down, it was to be expected. If he wins, the UFC can tout his title win as an inspirational story. For such a lambasted fight, the stakes are unusually high.
WADE KELLER, MMATorch editor
Since this question is being answered pretty unanimously that Bisping is the only guy with something to lose, I think there is another aspect to this – Henderson’s health. Getting badly rocked and knocked out by anyone at this point could be more costly to him than any ego-crushing or legacy-bruising loss that Bisping could suffer.
Henderson’s Hall of Fame level accomplishments are there and will always be there, but if the last memory of him is staying in too long and losing badly, and getting rocked – and given his deplorable extra punch to a clearly completely knocked out Bisping last time (don’t defend it; no matter how much you dislike Bisping and even if you cheered, it was deplorable to do and just as bad for Hendo to defend afterward with a smile) – Bisping is not going to look to just beat Henderson. He is going to be looking for revenge, and it might take a referee extra effort to stop any extra punch should the fight go that way.
I, in no way, disagree with the sentiment that Bisping has a ton at stake, but I think Henderson’s health and that everlasting final image of him in his last fight is a factor here. He could potentially get manhandled and destroyed by someone who, just maybe, is better than a fluke winner who won his title only because Luke Rockhold arrogantly and misguidedly underestimated him.
NOW CHECK OUT THE FIRST BATCH OF RESPONSES ON THIS TOPIC: ROUNDTABLE (Batch 1): Who has more to lose on Saturday at UFC 204, Michael Bisping or Dan Henderson?