Henderson vs Edgar: Let the Discussion Begin, Was the Result Correct?
The debate has already begun as to whether or not UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson truly did enough to defeat former champion Frankie Edgar at UFC 150 this past Saturday night, and it continually rages on by the minute.
Some fans agree with FightMetric statistics, which determined that Edgar's activity won him the fight in at least three of the scheduled five rounds of action. Some of the pros, as well as the media, agree with the fans' opinion that Edgar won the fight.
However, the decision was still correct, right down to the official call of a split decision.
Did Edgar do a good job of using his footwork to get inside on Henderson? Yes. FightMetric determined that Edgar was able to out-strike Henderson in terms of total and significant strikes, and although Henderson did out-strike Edgar in rounds one and four, Edgar earned two takedowns out of six while also going for his patented version of the guillotine choke.
However, after Henderson got off strong with his leg kicks in the first round and got dropped in round two, he made a very strong case for victory in the later rounds.
Both men were active, making it difficult for the three ringside judges to pinpoint a clear victor in each of the remaining three rounds, but just as in the first fight, Edgar landed a high volume of strikes while Henderson landed the heavier, more damaging hits, in addition to the kicks which left quite the impression on Edgar's legs.
Henderson's timing also played a role in his success against Edgar. Though some will argue otherwise, Henderson indeed established himself as the aggressor in the fight from the onset, as is evidenced by his early efforts to break Edgar down with his leg kicks, and despite getting taken down and nearly submitted twice by Edgar's attempts at a guillotine choke, Henderson stuck every one of the shots he did land before Edgar got anything off on him.
Is it possible that a percentage of those people who scored this lightweight title rematch in favor of the former champion only did so in the heat of the intense battle that ensued in front of a vocal Denver crowd?
Did any number of those people get so caught up in the action that they momentarily forgot that even an Edgar victory by split decision would not change UFC president Dana White's mind about Nate Diaz getting the next title shot, as opposed to a trilogy?
All things are possible, but what is unfathomable is the notion alluding to a robbery that never occurred in this fight. Equally unfathomable is the audacious fallacy that suggests Edgar walked out with the clearest of victories while Henderson suffered the clearest of defeats.
Simply put, Henderson did exactly what many thought Edgar did in this rematch, but the fact that Edgar's overall output outweighed Henderson's caused many to feel as though Edgar truly prevailed.
I, for one, applaud the honest opinion that suggests an Edgar win. Again, though, to claim a robbery occurred on Saturday is to prove oneself as being as blind as the judges they accuse of turning in an incompetent decision in the lightweight title fight.
Whether the judges got the decision right on Saturday really depends more on whether one picked Edgar or Henderson, because at the end of the day, the later rounds proved difficult in determining who truly deserved the victory and the right to call themselves the undisputed UFC lightweight champion.
Both men delivered an enthralling contest that will go down as one of the best of 2012, and neither man has anything to feel ashamed about. Edgar brought the fire that we've come to expect from the proud Jersey Shore scrapper, and Henderson brought the level of intensity that fans love to see from this electrifying Arizona-bred champion.
When it comes to the decision, however, the judges got it right on Saturday night. If Mr. Edgar disagrees, hopefully he will remember to not leave it in the hands of the judges without leaving any doubt.
As for Henderson, there's a gentleman from Stockton, California who will make "The Smooth One" pay dearly for not going in for the kill if Henderson should bring this same fight to him when they face off for the crown.
Hence, it lies in Henderson's best interests to also remember that he must either finish Diaz, or cut the judges a little slack and actually leave no doubt about his victory if he wishes to remain the UFC lightweight champion.
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