True Grit: UFC 139

Last night Mauricio SHOGUN Rua displayed true grit. His fight with Dan Henderson was epic and will be etched forever in the annals of MMA. It was not a fight highlighted by beautiful striking, flawless BJJ, or picture-perfect wrestling. It was messy, long, and bloody. Punctuated by will and determination.  A display of why we love heart. A Rocky Balboa story. (spoilers ahead!)


In the first two rounds it was obvious who the better fighter was that night. Dan Henderson utilized his signature overhand right and wobbled Rua several times. At some tense moments you might have thought the fight was over. Yet Rua recovered and started dishing out some solid upper cuts that bypassed Henderson's defense and reminded him it was still a fight. By the end of round three Rua's face was a bloody mess, but Henderson had paid a higher price. In round four Henderson was visibly gassed while Rua seemed to overcome the odds and push an already bruised and battered body beyond its limits, winning the round decisively. The last round Rua dominated by being in full mount almost the entire time and rained blows at his exhausted opponent.

The judges scored a unanimous decision in favor of Henderson but that is not what I saw. Sure the first three rounds were obviously Henderson's but the last round should have been a clear 10-8 Rua instead of the 10-9. I mean how dominating do you have to be to get a 10-8? (However I will rant on MMA judging another time.) If it was a 10-8 then the fight would have been a draw and I believe that that is closer to the truth than a clear victory for Henderson. Even UFC president Dana White judged it a draw (source: UFC 139 post-fight press conference). Fight Metric agrees with me, and if you use their (IMO more accurate) Total Performance Rating then Rua would have won. It was also clear that if there was a round six Rua would dominate further. This is in no way an insult to Henderson, this was the second 5 round non-title fight in modern UFC history, it was just started in Nov. 5 Leben Vs Munoz. If it was the usual 3 rounds Henderson would have easily won.

Regardless of the results the MMA fans got to see one of the greatest fights in history. A perfect example of heart. A true warrior spirit. A real life Rocky Balboa moment.

Although I may not agree with Henderson's scoring he does hit the nail on the head in the beginning of this video.




  • Email