The UFC 173 light heavyweight battle between Daniel Cormier and Dan Henderson had title implications written all over it. Cormier was all but guaranteed a shot at the belt should he win, and Henderson’s explosive victories always make him a contender.
The only question going in was who would take the bull by the horns and put himself on the top rung of the ladder of fighters waiting for UFC champ Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson to settle their score.
Cormier recently came down from heavyweight to fight in the 205-pound division, while Henderson weighed in at 199 pounds for this fight. The size difference, coupled with Cormier’s impeccable wrestling pedigree, was immediately apparent.
When Henderson shot in for a takedown to open the fight, Cormier stuffed it and tossed him to the mat with ease. Cormier dominated the first round, maintaining top position on the ground for the majority of the stanza, but didn’t rack up much damage.
Round two played out much the same as the first, although, realizing his dominance, Cormier’s confidence started to grow. He didn’t just wear on Henderson this time, he peppered him with an endless barrage of punches for the final four minutes of the round.
Supremely confident going into the final round, Cormier disregarded the potential for a patented Henderson H-bomb, and threw everything at the former champ. Cormier kicked him, threw him to the mat like a rag doll, and then once again pounced and pummeled.
After softening him up, Cormier took Henderson’s back and locked on a rear naked choke. Henderson wouldn’t tap, so Cormier put the lights out… completely out.
Henderson has been fighting for nearly two decades, but never has he been manhandled the way Cormier manhandled him on Saturday night in Las Vegas.
Even at 44 years of age, however, Henderson wasn’t ready to call it quits.
“I’m just gonna have to figure it out and move forward,” he said. “I’m not done yet. I’m still gonna compete. I’m gonna continue to do it until I can’t.”
There were no questions surrounding Cormier, though. He looked as good as he ever has, and after taking the bull by the horns, he’s ready to try and do the same to Jones. And he wasn’t shy about saying so.
“Jon Jones you can’t run away from me forever. No matter where you go, I’m coming. And I’m only getting better,” Cormier declared after dominating Henderson.
“I know nobody can wrestle me. If I decide to take Jon Jones down 100 times; I’ll take Jon Jones down 100 times. This is my Octagon!”
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