The End of an Era

ufc-204When thinking about the greatest all time in the MMA world there are a few names that constantly come up.

Most of those names are a part of a different generation who began fighting before the UFC was even known as a promotion.

These fighters took the long route towards stardom fighting in small promotions and massive promotions overseas.

They are the fighters who created the sport and helped it in the time when nobody was paying attention.

They also saw the fight game change from considering MMA a joke and brutal to the massive sport it has become today.

It would be hard for the world of MMA and the UFC to write their histories without these names and personalities as a big part of the story.

Most of these fighters are long gone from the world of fighting as their age eventually caught up with them and they walked away.

It is never an easy thing to do especially when a fighter’s schedule is so regimented and so busy with training and eating right.

To take that away all of a sudden can be a tough adjustment for many and so some fighters hang on as long as they can.

Some hang on a little too long as they begin losing regularly and eventually the fans and everyone around them tell the fighter that it might be time to walk away before they get seriously hurt.

Then there are the rare few who stick around and continue to be contenders and only leave because there is little left for them to do.

That is where Dan Henderson was when he walked into the octagon at UFC 204 in the latest of numerous main events.

Henderson has done everything there is to do in MMA as he began fighting in 1997 and began his career in smaller promotions that included an unrecognisable UFC.

Throughout his time in promotions like RINGS, Pride, and a brief stint in Strikeforce, Henderson proved to be one of the best fighters in the world.

He won titles in every promotion and saw his massive right hand gain the nickname of “H-Bomb.”

He has always been one of the best in the world and has beat some of the other legends that could be considered the forefathers of the UFC.

Yet for Henderson, there was always something missing in his time as a fighter, a UFC belt.

Despite multiple stints in the UFC and multiple title challenges in a few different weight classes, Henderson has never been able to win the title.

As his career continued on he continued to beat everyone on the roster in more than one division but when it came to the big fight he couldn’t get it done.

Now at 46-years old, Henderson was given another shot at a title as he was set to take on Michael Bisping for the middleweight championship.

For Henderson, it was a massive fight because it meant his last chance to win the one belt that he has not been able to win.

His main event title match at UFC 204 would be his last regardless of the result of the fight as he announced his retirement long before the fight began.mma-sidebar.fw

His ultimate goal was to beat Bisping much like he had at UFC 100 and take a belt in his last MMA fight ever.

It would have been the ultimate retirement story and one that not many have been able to do as not many are still title contenders when they get to the retirement age.

For Henderson, this fight meant everything as he wanted to walk away as a UFC champion and complete a very good collection of belts that he gained in his amazing career.

In his way was Bisping, who was a veteran himself and was a much different fighter than when the two faced off at UFC 100.

Bisping had only gotten better since that time and despite the circumstances of the win became the UFC champion.

Bisping had very different plans and for the third fight in a row, he employed a frustrating strategy to fight.

The champion stayed on the outside and jumped in to get good shots that scored points despite lacking the power.

Henderson seemed to get very tired as the fight went on and eventually just looked to be sitting back and waiting for an opportunity to throw that massive right hand.

He landed the right hand a few times including the first round where Bisping ended up with a few big cuts.

Although Henderson took the round the rest of the fight saw Bisping withstand any other big shots and land plenty of his own.

Bisping simply was busier and landed a lot more and in fighting it is not about the damage that a fighter can inflict in one round but rather the total fight that leads to a win.

For Bisping, it was his first title defence as he looks towards the long list of contenders for his next fight.

Henderson won’t have any more fights as he confirmed that he has retired and he will now go down as the best fighter not to win a UFC championship.

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