Earlier today, I conducted a unscientific poll with some of my colleagues. I asked them one question: Do you believe the casual fan remembers Ben Henderson for his tremendous run in the WEC or the "Showtime Kick?"
Everybody, with the exception of one person, said without any hesitation "The Showtime kick."
This Saturday, Ben Henderson will have the opportunity to put that all behind him when he squares off against Mark Bocek.
Bocek is coming in to this fight with a 9-3 record. He has been able to defeat lesser competition, but has lost the three times he stepped up in competition against Jim Miller, Mac Danzig and Frankie Edgar.
Henderson is now sporting a record of 12-2, with his only losses coming from Rocky Johnson and Anthony Pettis.
During his 10-fight winning streak, Henderson, the former WEC champion, was able to defeat the best the WEC had to offer, with the exception being Pettis.
Although Henderson has had more success against better competition, Bocek is currently the betting favorite, sitting at -130.
There can only be one explanation as to why Henderson is the underdog—the Showtime kick.
People are quick to forget what a fighter has done in the past. They are only as good as their last bout.
When looking at this fight, it is clear that both fighters are excellent submission artists. Out of their combined 21 victories, 16 have came via submission.
But in all seriousness, can anyone see Henderson actually getting submitted by Bocek? We have all seen Henderson in some incredibly painful looking submissions. But somehow, he turns in to Gumby and always finds a way to escape.
With only one TKO victory to his credit, is there any chance that Bocek can become the first fighter to knockout Henderson? In MMA, anything is possible, but this seems highly unlikely.
On the other side of the coin, the same can be said about Bocek. He has only been submitted once, so "Smooth" could have a difficult time getting Boeck to tapout.
Also, Bocek has shown that he has a good chin. He has only been stopped once, and that came from the hands of current UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar.
So after looking at all of that, this looks like a well made matchup. However, there will be one thing that can be the deciding factor in this fight—the Pettis kick monkey that is on Henderson's back.
Will the Showtime kick be the one strike that changes his career, or will it inspire him to fight even harder to prove the critics wrong?
I am going to say the latter will happen.
Despite the fact that he had a bad outing in his last fight, Henderson is still a very solid lightweight. Bocek is no slouch, but Saturday will be the day when Henderson turns everything around and prove all the haters wrong when he earns a unanimous decision victory.
Henderson might be most remembered for the kick heard around the world now, but after Saturday night, he will push that thought further back in the minds of all the casual fans.
Then after a few more solid performances from Smooth, the Showtime kick will be remembered for what it was—a crazy kick that somehow landed instead of Henderson's career highlight.