UFC 204 was this past weekend and it was the final fight in the long career of Dan Henderson. Let’s get to the rundown.
GOOD: Mirsad Bektic submits Russell Doane
Bektic got Doane down and worked for the submission before finally getting it. Doane took the fight on short notice so props to him for that, but Bektic is just the better fighter.
GOOD: Stefan Struve submits Daniel Omielanczuk
Another dominating performance from the favored fighter. It wasn’t always the greatest fight, but I have a soft spot for Struve and him battling back from his health issues so I overlook some of it. It’s a nice win for Struve.
GOOD: Jimi Manuwa stops Ovince Saint Preux
OSP was winning and fighting well early, but then he gassed hard and got knocked out. That seems to be a constant with OSP. He doesn’t seem to have the gas tank to go far into fights. Manuwa was wrestling with OSP early, but then in the second round he started landing heavy shots. Big win for Manuwa.
GOOD: Gegard Mousasi stops Vitor Belfort
Mousasi started a little slow, but he started picking up steam towards the end of the first round. In the second, he caught Belfort with a headkick and followed up with some big shots on the ground to force the stoppage. I know Belfort isn’t what he once was, but he’s still dangerous so a win over him means something. Mousasi should get a top guy next, but the Middleweight Division will have to play out some more before we know who that is. Mousasi is very dangerous himself, so whoever he fights will have to be very careful or risk looking up at the lights at the end of the night.
GOOD: Dan Henderson vs. Michael Bisping
This was a good fight. It wasn’t great, but it was definitely good. Hendo dropped Bisping in each of the first two rounds. After that, Bisping took over and started landing a lot of shots. None of them were individually all that damaging, but the cumulative effect was. He was also able to keep Hendo at bay to a degree with his jabs. Basically what happened was, Hendo landed a few huge shots that gave him the first two rounds and Bisping’s activity gave him the last three rounds. It was fairly cut and dry.
So the fight itself was good, but this was a hell of a way for Dan Henderson to retire. I’ll admit, I thought Bisping was going to finish him. You’re talking about a 46 year old man fighting one of the best fighters in the world. I know that Hendo was great in his own right, but age and injury always wins. And Hendo has been in a lot of wars in his career. So to battle through this and not get stopped is impressive. This was going to be Hendo’s final fight regardless of what happened, but he did about as well as you could have possibly hoped for. He was extremely close to stopping Bisping when he dropped him. Bisping showed incredible toughness to survive. And his face post-fight showed the after effects. You could tell that he had been in a war. Hendo may have lost some stuff over time, but he never lost his power. Dude hit like a truck and you saw that here in this fight.
Henderson had a great career with many memorable moments. He’s a legend and one of the last of his kind. He fought in PRIDE and Strikeforce (among other places) before going to the UFC, enjoying a lot of success in those organizations. He also enjoyed success in multiple weight divisions. That’s not an easy thing to do, yet Hendo made it work. If you started listing every great or memorable thing Hendo did in his career, you’d be here all day.
The thing I’ll remember most, and was most impressed by, in Hendo’s career was when he held both the PRIDE Welterweight and Middleweight Championships. Those were essentially what we know as Middleweight and Light-Heavyweight Championships in the UFC, but the point is that’s so incredibly impressive. Winning one championship is accomplishment enough, so to win two is very impressive. To do it at the same time is almost unbelievable. Hendo holding two titles at the same time in PRIDE is one of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen in MMA. One thing is for sure, guys like Hendo don’t come around everyday. He’s a legend and his career will be forever remembered.
Comments and suggestions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow Frank on Twitter at @hydenfrank.