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Bisping retires Hendo with decision win

By on October 9, 2016

ufc-204It may have not been the finish that Dan Henderson, his many fans, or Michael Bisping’s many detractors had wanted, but Bisping didn’t care. For that matter, Bisping has never been one to worry much about whether his victories fit the expectations and pre-conceived narratives of others.

Instead of a highlight reel KO and title win at the end of his legendary career, Dan Henderson had to settle for a hard-fought decision loss and some unexpectedly kind words from his rival, Michael Bisping, on Saturday night.

The fight certainly wasn’t without its moments; Henderson hurt Bisping a couple of times and appeared to have him on the proverbial ropes at least once. However, Bisping is nothing if not stubborn, and he wasn’t going to just hand over the storybook ending to Hendo. He fought on and went right back to his game plan, not panicking or wilting like a lesser fighter or an inexperienced Bisping might have done.

Bisping’s pure volume and accuracy ensured that the outcome was pretty much inevitable once the fight went the distance. Henderson simply wasn’t active enough throughout the fight to win three rounds, and it was clear nearly from the outset that he didn’t show up to outpoint Bisping or steal rounds. As I said in my preview, he was going to knock out Bisping, or he was going to lose.

This time, he lost. Of course, it doesn’t do anything to hurt the legacy of Henderson, who never claimed to be unbeatable, only to be capable of beating anyone on any given night. Thanks to Hendo for a great career as one of the best mixed martial arts fighters of all-time.

Meanwhile, Gegard absolutely mauled Vitor Belfort in the fight right before Henderson lost what will hopefully be his final bout. The question is, will Belfort do what many believe he should and hang them up? It’s not that Belfort isn’t capable of competing any longer; he is, although not at a top ten level, it would seem.

The real issue here is that Belfort’s losses are becoming more and more likely to be of the knockout variety. He’s lost by KO or TKO four of the last five times his hand hasn’t been raised.

Sure, Belfort isn’t going to be a title contender again, but that alone isn’t a reason to tell someone they should stop doing something they enjoy. Otherwise, he could have safely retired years ago, with Anderson Silva and Jon Jones locking down the two divisions in which he could reasonably compete. There’s something to be said for having accomplished everything you can expect to accomplish; but there’s a lot more to be said for leaving a sport like this one while you still have a decent chance at enjoying the rest of your life.

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