Dan Henderson had his swan song on Saturday night in Manchester, England. And as usual for “Hendo” he went out on his own terms in a rematch with loud-mouth rival Michael Bisping.
In a fight that mirrored the movie “Balboa” Henderson and Bisping went toe-to-toe in a terrific 5-round fight. Here are a few things we learned:
Henderson is one of the most accomplished fighters ever
At 46 Henderson does so much more than men of his age. He was the light heavyweight champion in Strikeforce. In PRIDE he was the only fighter to hold two belts in two different weight classes (welterweight and middleweight). And in the UFC he has fought 11 former or current champions, which shows that he only takes the biggest fight possible and is able to hold his own in those matches.
Henderson can still deliver
In their first outing, Bisping’s night ended when Henderson dropped an “H” bomb on “The Count’s” chin. The big right hand has fallen many fighters, but in the case of Bisping there was extra jubilation after all the trash talking that went on during filming of the Ultimate Fighter season 9.
At UFC 204 Hendon dropped Bisping in the opening round with another “H” bomb and almost had a repeat victory. Nearly down to the letter. The heavy right hand and the fact that Henderson landed more than just one of the on Saturday shows that, even at his age, Henderson’s power is not to be taken lightly.
Bisping is fighting like a champion
When Bisping challenged Luke Rockhold for the title back at UFC 199 in June, very few people thought he could knock the champion out.
But then he did.
When Bisping was to defend his title against Henderson, a man that had already knocked him out, few people thought “The Count” would retain the belt.
But he did.
In the five-round spectacle that was the middleweight title fight, Bisping showed the heart of a champion after surviving Henderson’s heavy right hand in the opening round. Pushing on into the later rounds he threw combinations and defended against takedowns from an Olympic wrestler.
Hopefully he can continue surprising fans.
Bisping’s reputation continues to grow
A win over Henderson is another in Bisping’s cap. He has now won his fifth straight fight and it’s his third over a champion or former champion.
Always a visible fighter, Bisping has really come into the limelight after his controversial win over Anderson Silva. Many thought Silva won that fight with a flying knee (even “The Spider” himself) but that didn’t happen. Building on that success Bisping knocked out Rockhold for the title, and now with a win over Henderson “The Count’s” reputation is only going up.
Bisping-Henderson II was for the fans
It may not seem like it lately, but the UFC really does care about fights fans want to see. With all the seemingly special treatment Conor McGregor seems to be getting it doesn’t always look like Dana White cares what the fighters want or the fans.
But the rematch between Henderson and Bisping proves otherwise. After Henderson knocked out Bisping at UFC 199 and then followed up with a flying elbow for good measure, fight fans hoped to see more. Plus Henderson had a chance to earn the ever-elusive UFC middleweight belt if he won.
Fans got a war that left Bisping disfigured and a chance for Henderson to leave everything on the table. What more could a fan want?