UFC 151 will see 205-pound kingpin Jon Jones attempt a fourth successive title defense when he takes on Dan Henderson in a match that some feel will be his toughest test to date; but it won’t, because “Hendo” chances of an upset are between slim and none. And slim? Well, he ain’t gonna be in Vegas come fight night.
Long story short, “Bones” Jones has this one in the bag and after the night’s proceedings, he’ll continue on his trajectory to MMA immortality.
Henderson is a former Olympian (Greco-Roman wrestling), a former NCAA Division l standout and a former multi-division titlist (PRIDE and Strikeforce).
Truth be told, there isn’t enough space to list his accomplishments.
“Hendo” is a living legend.
But that’s where the Henderson fairy tale ends, because all his attributes and achievements will not avail him when he comes face-to-face with the bane of the light heavyweight division.
Since this fight was announced, Henderson’s heat seeking missile (overhand right), aptly named the H-Bomb, has been all the rage. The assumption is, once it lands and detonates on impact, it’s sayonara Jones and konnichiwa new champ.
Theoretically it sounds greats, but from a pragmatic point of view, it’s a non-starter.
At 5’11” and a 71-inch reach, Henderson (29-8 MMA, 6-2 UFC) has two obstacles to contend with: Jones’s 6’4” height and that overly long reach of 84.5 inches.
And since Jones is highly aware of the devastating effects of the H-Bomb, there’s not a cat’s chance in hell he’ll stand in harm’s way, à la Michael Bisping.
Jones will stay out of the pocket and employ his height, reach and overall physical presence to keep Henderson at bay and overwhelm him with his Pandora’s Box of unorthodox tricks.
Can he take the fight to the mat? With that in mind, who was the first and the last fighter to put Jones on his back? No one. And neither will Henderson.
However, if Jones takes matters to the ground, that's a different story altogether. Expect a submission win or a ground-and-pound onslaught equivalent to the one he meted out to Brandon Vera.
That said, it’s been quite a while since Jones has executed those devilish hell-bows.
At the grand old age of 41, Henderson isn’t getting any younger, and that per se will hamper his chances.
Sure he defeated the legendary Fedor Emelianenko and Rafael Cavalcante, but Jones, who recently turned 25, is in the prime of his life and that will count for a lot during the match.
Furthermore, Henderson’s cardio or lack thereof has been well-documented: two-rounds and he’s more or less gassed. And even though he managed to prevail in the Mauricio Rua bout, his cardio problems would be suicidal against Jones.
Finally, both combatants possess championship mentality, but the phenom Jones (16-1 MMA, 10-1 UFC) is an absolute disparate type of species. Three successive title defenses and four consecutive victories over former champions in just over a year is the stuff of legends.
Dan Henderson, courageous as he is, doesn’t have a legitimate chance of unseating Jon Jones at UFC 151.