UFC 154 came and went, but for the ‘Bad Boy from Stockton” Saturday his bark was bigger than his bite. Henderson had said during interviews that his training partners had been taunting him in order to prepare for Diaz and it seemed to work. Throughout the fight Diaz made every point to try to draw Henderson into a battle, but could never get the fight on his term. The outcome was determined midway through the second round after Diaz was knocked down by a huge strike from Henderson. The most success Diaz had was an array of leg locks that never really had much chance of finishing ‘Smooth.’
Henderson had his most impressive performance to date and all but rid the thought from fans that he is not a deserving champion after his rematch with Frankie Edgar. There are a few possibilities for Henderson next, however, a fight with the winner of Pettis and Cerrone seems to make the most sense.
As for Diaz, what we saw from him at UFC on Fox was the same thing we’ve seen from him throughout his career. He has difficulty against stronger, more athletic fighters that have a solid wrestling game. Diaz may have outstanding jiu-jitsu, but his takedown defense is poor. This fight could serve him well in his career, but to really see where he is, the UFC needs to throw him in against more wrestlers.
In the co-main event Alexander Gustafsson was given a tough task of Shogun Rua and after two rounds of a close fight, Gustafsson showed that he is an elite level fighter. Gustafsson utilized his range extremely well and even worked takedowns against the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. He should get the next shot at Jon Jones after Chael Sonnen, but don’t rule out the possibility of him stepping in for Dan Henderson, if Henderson is not ready for a February fight with Lyoto Machida.
Rua again showed that he cannot compete at an elite level. He gassed out and took shot after shot. We’ve seen this from Rua every fight against elite level competition in the UFC.
Rory MacDonald dismantled BJ Penn for three rounds coasting to a unanimous decision victory. MacDonald called for a rematch with Condit and I see no reason why that fight doesn’t happen.
Penn didn’t belong in the cage with MacDonald and certainly does not belong in the cage against anyone at welterweight. There may have been a lot of hype after the video of Penn shadow boxing with his shirt off, but Penn is too small to compete against the athletes at welterweight. It’s time for one of the elite lightweights to retire for good.