Michael “The Count” Bisping waited seven years to get the opportunity to avenge his 2009 knockout loss to Dan Henderson at UFC 100. In his first title defense on Saturday, in the UFC 204 main event, Bisping got his revenge.
Bisping’s heart was on display inside the Manchester Arena, having to rebound from being dropped in the opening stanza. Henderson landed his right hand and Bisping crashed to the canvas. Henderson pounced on him, looking for the finish. He delivered elbows and punches, but Bisping weathered the onslaught and got to his feet.
In the second frame, Bisping was the aggressor. He took the fight to Henderson and was beginning to pick the 46-year-old veteran apart when he was dropped for the second time by Henderson’s “H-bomb.”
Heading into the third round, Bisping was cut below his left eye. He had been knocked down twice, but continued to take the fight to Henderson. He mixed up his attack and put together combinations clearly winning the frame.
The momentum had changed to Bisping’s favor and Henderson looked to have slowed down in the fourth. Heading into the final round, Henderson’s corner urged him to push forward. He did, but was unable to connect with that one shot to put Bisping away while the champion kept up his pace and output. After five rounds, the judges scored the fight for Bisping by unanimous decision.
“Give it up for Dan Henderson. This guy is incredible. At his age, he just kicked my ass,” said Bisping following the fight. “You’ve got to respect the guy. He’s a legend.”
“I know people spoke and said, ‘oh, he’s not the No. 1 contender or anything.’ This guy knocked me out cold, cold, worst knockout in UFC history,” Bisping added. “The jitters that I had this week. It’s all well and good to have the bravado to step in here, look at my face for crying out loud. You know what this guy can do. That took a lot of courage for me to do that.”
With his first title defense under his belt, Bisping turned his attention to the rest of the 185-pound division.
“Now that that’s out of the way, forgive my language, but all you f**king a**holes in the rest of the division: Chris Weidman, what the hell? You lost your last fight. I have three victories since you got your ass kicked by Luke Rockhold. Rockhold, I knocked you out in three minutes buddy. Yoel Romero, you’re suspended for steroids. Shame on you. And Jacare (Souza), you just got beat up by Yoel. Win some fights, get off the couch and let’s do this,” he said.
For Henderson, he’ll retire without having won the UFC championship, the one goal he didn’t accomplish in his legendary career.
“That was the last time that anyone will see me fight live,” said Henderson.
“I want to thank the fans and thank Michael Bisping for giving me this opportunity to fight for the belt in my last fight. I came up a little shot, but not bad for an old man,” he said. “I wish the judges would score it based on how you looked after the fight.”