Let’s Not Get Carried Away, Bendo
In a performance that will be lauded for years to come, Benson “Smooth” Henderson out-worked a much bigger, harder-hitting Brandon Thatch at UFC Broomfield. He did well – very well. Utilizing his jab in concert with elite-level footwork, Bendo was able to close both of his opponent’s eyes by the fourth round. Still, it was no perfect performance.
I’m here to silence the hype train conductor before he yells “all aboard”.
There were several instances where his endlessly forward-marching Frankenstein of a foe had closed the distance and landed head-rattling button smashers.
The entire fight was nerve-wracking for Henderson fans. Echoes of his knockout loss to current #1-contender Rafael dos Anjos resounded in their inner ears. Though his skin showed no damage by fight’s end, Bendo had been walloped enough times to scare the bejesus out of his cornermen in the second round.
It wasn’t just the wobble, either. Ben Henderson was slammed down effortlessly on two occasions – simply for being caught up too close to his challenger. The size disparity was on full display.
For Benson to make a home of the 170lb division, he’d have needed a more flawless performance for justification. Though I agree with some that the speed advantage he carries could make him a real contender in the UFC’s Welterweight Division, I’m more concerned with his health than they might be.
Henderson paid dearly for his mistakes against Thatch. Should those mistakes have been made at 155lbs, his usual habitat, he probably would not have been wobbled by them. At this stage in his career, his chin can’t afford to withstand oncoming blows from 190lb men.
That’s why I’m saying, “Let’s not get carried away, Bendo.”
Calling out the #1-Contender in a higher weightclass is pretty crazy to begin with… but Rory MacDonald is an even more special case. I’m not sure if anyone realizes that Brandon Thatch is unranked in the UFC. Given the difficulties he was able to bring Benson Henderson, I’d have to imagine that Rory MacDonald, ranked #1-in-the-World behind the UFC Welterweight Champion, could put Benson in a world of hurt.
Slow your roll, bro! You’re still a lightweight.
Now, should Benson decide to calm down and spend some time bulking up, putting on muscle mass, and readapting his physiology, he’s golden. I’ll give him the okay I’m in no position to provide him or deny him of. But I make no reservations when saying that a fight against Tri-Star Gym’s Rory MacDonald would be mistake of epic proportions.
Holloway vs. Swanson – In the Books
I usually like to make a “Fights to Make & Break” article after events, but it looks like I won’t have that opportunity. Announced in the octagon immediately after his victory, was news of a contract waiting in the locker room for Max Holloway. With Cub Swanson still reeling things back together after a loss to Frankie Edgar, it makes sense he should have to ward off the up and comer.
Unfortunately for Max, this one should look very similar to his loss against Conor McGregor. Five-win streak or not, Cub Swanson is still a wide margin ahead of Max in terms of experience and skill refinement. I won’t write him off. No. But… every opportunity has it’s risk.