This year offered an assortment of spectacular fights. Many a men engaged in highly memorable duels, and while fights like Frankie Edgar versus Gray Maynard III, Nick Diaz versus Paul Daley, and Jose Aldo versus Mark Hominick are certainly worthy of such recognition, one fight took place this year that stands head and shoulders above the rest of the pack.
At UFC 139 two longtime veterans met for the first time, despite traveling similar career courses for years: Dan “Hendo” Henderson and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. These two engaged in a war to be remembered. For five full rounds, both men utilized every tool in their repertoire, which led to a frenetic bout that saw plenty of action on the feet, as well as some solid ground work.
Henderson held a clear edge in the fight’s first three frames, though fatigue became detrimental to the rugged Californian as the bout entered the championship rounds; Henderson was clearly exhausted, and while Rua didn’t look to have much in the tank himself, he was clearly the fresher of the two fighters. The bouts closing 10 minutes belonged to Rua, who grounded Dan and unleashed relentless ground and pound after securing top control. Henderson, the consummate warrior refused to succumb to the onslaught, and managed to ride out the final two rounds in survival mode.
Ultimately, the fight proved to be a war for the ages, and Dan Henderson exited the cage with a narrow victory. The truth of the matter is, the fights greatest winner was us, the fans, as Hendo versus Shogun proved to not only be the best fight of the year, but one of the greatest fights in the history of the sport.
With such an impressive W added to the expansive résumé of Dan Henderson, a chance at capturing the light heavyweight title could certainly sit in the near future. Henderson has been openly campaigning for a shot at the champion, stating his belief that his skillset will make for a perfect stylistic challenge for Jon Jones. Whether or not “Hendo’s” beseeching will indeed earn him a chance to claim a belt still remains a mystery.
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