Browsing all articles tagged with Benson Henderson
Jul
26

Washington Sportsjam MMA Pound-for-Pound Rankings: July 2012 Edition

So, there are no changes this month. If anything with Anderson Silva’s performance at UFC 148 this list solidified it. With Bellator off the big news is that current UFC bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz was unable to get healthy in time for this month’s pay-per-view. Instead, Renan “Barao” Pegado and Urijah Faber fought for an interim title. Barao’s big win over Faber may affect this list in the future.

1. Anderson Silva (UFC Middleweight Champion, Record 30-4)

After an unimaginable 10 straight UFC title defenses, Silva is the undisputed Greatest of All Time. He’s been a dominating run we’ll likely never see again. Chael Sonnen has been his most formidable foe but the Spider has now bested him twice, once in 2010 and once this year at UFC 148. After Sonnen soundly outwrestled him in Round 1, Silva refused to go to the ground in Round 2. Sonnen tried to bait him, Silva hit the wrestler with a huge knee and then quickly TKO’d him. Sonnen made one mistake and paid for it. That’s why Silva’s been such a dominating champion, if an opponent slips up once the fight is over.

Next Fight – TBA

2. Jon Jones (UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Record 16-1)

For the first time as champ, Jones didn’t finish his opponent. Jones was smart to keep challenger Rashad Evans at arm’s length all fight, as he was the most complete fighter he’s faced yet. While it wasn’t the type of exciting fight we’ve been accustomed to from Jones, we did see something new – elbows as jabs! Bones methodically outstruck and outpointed Evans the whole fight and handily avoided all takedowns. Jones doesn’t seem to have any weaknesses in his game and refuses to play to his opponent’s strength. If he keeps that up he’ll be almost unbeatable.

Next Fight – vs Dan Henderson @UFC 151  9/1/12

3. Jose Aldo (UFC Featherweight Champion, Record 21-1)

In the first UFC event of 2012 Aldo defended his belt against one of his toughest opponents yet. Chad “Money” Mendes is the most accomplished wrestler in the division, yet Aldo’s takedown defense never looked better. After shutting down Mendes’ wrestling, Aldo stopped “Money” with a spinning back elbow. Aldo, the brilliant tactician has been present in all three of his UFC fights. Aldo, the exciting finisher and creative striker from the WEC finally showed up again. In three straight title defenses in the UFC he’s been dominant, only dropping three rounds. Like his contemporaries in the bantamweight and middleweight divisions Aldo is running out of challenges at his weight class.

Next Fight – TBA vs Eric Koch

4. Dominick Cruz (UFC Bantamweight Champion, Record 19-1)

The “Dominator” continues to control the bantamweight division. Last July, Cruz avenged his only career loss by outpointing Urijah Faber. In October he held off Demetrious Johnson, the only fighter with more speed at his weight class. Cruz’s critics complain his style is boring, but no one can accuse him of not working. He fights at a breakneck pace. That combined with his odd stand-up movement, his excellent takedowns, and complete ground game makes him a tough nut to crack. He’s also just a few more fights away from cleaning out the division of contenders.

Next Fight – TBA

5. Junior Dos Santos ↑ (UFC Heavyweight Champion Record 15-1)

At UFC 146 in May Junior Dos Santos successfully defended his heavyweight belt by thoroughly dominating Frank Mir. JDS was vastly superior to Mir in the stand-up game and Mir was unable to get the fight to the ground. Dos Santos boxing skills are superior to almost everyone in the division and seems almost impossible to takedown. He looks unbeatable at heavyweight at this point, but that is a division full of surprises.

Next Fight – TBA

Other fighters in consideration: Ben Askren, Carlos Condit, Benson Henderson, Cole Konrad, Gilbert Melendez

Jun
11

Washington Sportsjam MMA Pound-for-Pound Rankings: June 2012 Edition

So this is going to count for both May and June as no fighters on this list are fighting until July and I’m late on the May rankings anyway. With his first UFC title defense Junior Dos Santos enters the top five for the first time this year. With that Benson Henderson drops down to “In Consideration”. This is nothing against Henderson, who’s had an impressive UFC run recently, it’s just that winning and defending a title is more impressive than just winning one.

1. Anderson Silva (UFC Middleweight Champion, Record 29-4)

In the Yushin Okami fight Silva avenged his most recent loss and extended his title-defense streak to an astounding nine times. He beat one of his most qualified challengers yet both mentally and physically. His in-ring mind-games showed how he can force an opponent into his gameplan. Unfortunately, it also showed why he is losing fans despite his massive talent. Love him or hate him, he’s the most dominant fighter in the world right now.

Next Fight – vs. Chael Sonnen @UFC148 7/7/12

2. Jon Jones (UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Record 16-1)

For the first time as champ, Jones didn’t finish his opponent. Jones was smart to keep challenger Rashad Evans at arm’s length all fight, as he was the most complete fighter he’s faced yet. While it wasn’t the type of exciting fight we’ve been accustomed to from Jones, we did see something new – elbows as jabs! Bones methodically outstruck and outpointed Evans the whole fight and handily avoided all takedowns. Jones doesn’t seem to have any weaknesses in his game and refuses to play to his opponent’s strength. If he keeps that up he’ll be almost unbeatable. 

Next Fight – TBA vs. Dan Henderson

3. Jose Aldo (UFC Featherweight Champion, Record 21-1)

In the first UFC event of 2012 Aldo defended his belt against one of his toughest opponents yet. Chad “Money” Mendes is the most accomplished wrestler in the division, yet Aldo’s takedown defense never looked better. After shutting down Mendes’ wrestling, Aldo stopped “Money” with a spinning back elbow. Aldo, the brilliant tactician has been present in all three of his UFC fights. Aldo, the exciting finisher and creative striker from the WEC finally showed up again. In three straight title defenses in the UFC he’s been dominant, only dropping three rounds. Like his contemporaries in the bantamweight and middleweight divisions Aldo is running out of challenges at his weight class.

Next Fight – vs. Eric Koch @UFC149 7/21/12)

4. Dominick Cruz (UFC Bantamweight Champion, Record 19-1)

The “Dominator” continues to control the bantamweight division. In July, Cruz avenged his only career loss by outpointing Urijah Faber. At the beginning of October he held off Demetrious Johnson, the only fighter with more speed at his weight class. Cruz’s critics complain his style is boring, but no one can accuse him of not working. He fights at a breakneck pace. That combined with his odd stand-up movement, his excellent takedowns, and complete ground game makes him a tough nut to crack. He’s also just a few more fights away from cleaning out the division of contenders.

Next Fight TBA

5. Junior Dos Santos ↑ (UFC Heavyweight Champion Record 15-1)

At UFC 146 in May Junior Dos Santos thoroughly dominated Frank Mir in his first title defense. JDS was vastly superior to Mir in the stand-up game and Mir was unable to get the fight to the ground. Dos Santos boxing skills are superior to almost everyone in the division and seems almost impossible to takedown. He looks unbeatable at heavyweight at this point, but that is a division full of surprises.

Next Fight TBA

Other fighters in consideration: Ben Askren, Carlos Condit, Benson Henderson, Cole Konrad, Gilbert Melendez

May
3

Washington Sportsjam MMA Pound-for-Pound Rankings:April 2012 Edition

There is a lot of movement this month as UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre drops off the list because of a year of inactivity. Former Bellator middleweight belt-holder Hector Lombard drops out of the “In Consideration” list because he vacated his belt to join the UFC. That means new UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson comes in at number five. New UFC interim welterweight champ Carlos Condit and Bellator welterweight champ Ben Askren join the “In Consideration list”. Askren has defended his Bellator strap twice against as tough competition as you’d get outside the UFC. Henderson gets the nod over Condit at five here, because his list of downed opponents has a few higher ranked fighters.

1. Anderson Silva (UFC Middleweight Champion, Record 29-4)

In the Yushin Okami fight Silva avenged his most recent loss and extended his title-defense streak to an astounding nine times. He beat one of his most qualified challengers yet both mentally and physically. His in-ring mind-games showed how he can force an opponent into his gameplan. Unfortunately, it also showed why he is losing fans despite his massive talent. Love him or hate him, he’s the most dominant fighter in the world right now.

Next Fight – vs Chael Sonnen @UFC148 7/7/12

 2. Jon Jones (UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Record 16-1)

For the first time as champ, Jones didn’t finish his opponent. Jones was smart to keep challenger Rashad Evans at arm’s length all fight, as Evans is the most complete fighter he’s faced yet. While it wasn’t the type of exciting fight we’ve become accustomed to from Jones, we did see something new – elbows as jabs! Bones methodically out struck and outpointed Evans the whole fight and handily avoided all takedowns. Jones doesn’t seem to have any weaknesses in his game and refuses to play to his opponent’s strength. If he keeps that up he’ll be almost unbeatable. 

Next Fight – TBA vs Dan Henderson

 3. Jose Aldo ↑ (UFC Featherweight Champion, Record 21-1)

In the first UFC event of 2012 Aldo defended his belt against one of his toughest opponents yet. Chad “Money” Mendes is the most accomplished wrestler in the division, yet Aldo’s takedown defense never looked better. After shutting down Mendes’ wrestling, Aldo stopped “Money” with a spinning back elbow. Aldo, the brilliant tactician has been present in all three of his UFC fights. Aldo, the exciting finisher and creative striker from the WEC finally showed up again. In three straight title defenses in the UFC he’s been dominant, only dropping three rounds. Like his contemporaries in the bantamweight and middleweight divisions Aldo is running out of challenges at his weight class.

Next Fight – vs Eric Koch @UFC149 7/21/12)

 4. Dominick Cruz (UFC Bantamweight Champion, Record 19-1)

The “Dominator” continues to control the bantamweight division. In July, Cruz avenged his only career loss by outpointing Urijah Faber. At the beginning of October he held off Demetrious Johnson, the only fighter with more speed at his weight class. Cruz’s critics complain his style is boring, but no one can accuse him of not working. He fights at a breakneck pace. That combined with his odd stand-up movement, his excellent takedowns, and complete ground game makes him a tough nut to crack. He’s also just a few more fights away from cleaning out the division of contenders.

Next Fight – vs Urijah Faber @UFC148 7/7/12

 5. Benson Henderson ↑ (UFC Lightweight Champion, Record 15-2)

Next Fight -vs Frankie Edgar @UFC150 8/11/12

Benson “Smooth” Henderson narrowly edged out the tough Frankie Edgar in their title fight in February. Though earlier rounds probably should have gone to Edgar because of his takedowns, Henderson significant strikes were more significant all fight. In the final rounds he stuffed almost all of Edgar’s takedowns and continued his leg kick assault. Henderson has been on a tear since joining the UFC and just put away one of the toughest guys in all of MMA.

Other fighters in consideration: Ben Askren, Carlos Condit, Cole Konrad, Gilbert Melendez, Junior Dos Santos

Mar
8

Washington Sportsjam MMA Pound-for-Pound Rankings:February 2012 Edition

There’s no movement in the top five this month, but Frankie Edgar is replaced on the “In Consideration” list by his vanquisher Benson Henderson. This will be the list for both February and March, because in none of the fighters on this list will be active in March.

1. Anderson Silva (UFC Middleweight Champion, Record 29-4)

In the Yushin Okami fight Silva avenged his most recent loss and extended his title-defense streak to an astounding nine times. He beat one of his most qualified challengers yet both mentally and physically. His in-ring mind-games showed how he can force an opponent into his gameplan. Unfortunately, it also showed why he is losing fans despite his massive talent. Love him or hate him, he’s the most dominant fighter in the world right now.

Next Fight – vs Chael Sonnen @UFC147 6/29/12

2. Jon Jones (UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Record 15-1)

In his title defense against Lyoto Machida, Jones had his biggest challenge yet. For the first time in his UFC career, he lost a round and had his chin tested. He didn’t shrink away from contact though; instead he thoroughly dominated his opponent in all aspects in Round Two before finishing Machida with a choke.

Next Fight – vs Rashad Evans @UFC145 4/21/12

 3. Georges St-Pierre (UFC Welterweight Champion, Record 22-2)

Since his title defense against Jake Shields in April of 2011, GSP has had to pull out of two events because of injuries. The UFC is scheduling an interim title fight and St-Pierre will meet the winner when healthy. It’s unfortunate that GSP will lose a year in his prime because of his health. It remains to be seen if he comes back the same fighter.

Next Fight – TBA

4. Jose Aldo (UFC Featherweight Champion, Record 21-1)

In the first UFC event of 2012 Aldo defended his belt against one of his toughest opponents yet. Chad “Money” Mendes is the most accomplished wrestler in the division, yet Aldo’s takedown defense never looked better. After shutting down Mendes’ wrestling, Aldo stopped “Money” with a spinning back elbow. Aldo, the brilliant tactician has been present in all three of his UFC fights. Aldo, the exciting finisher and creative striker from the WEC finally showed up again. In three straight title defenses in the UFC he’s been dominant, only dropping three rounds. Like his contemporaries in the bantamweight and middleweight divisions Aldo is running out of challenges at his weight class.

Next Fight – TBA

5. Dominick Cruz (UFC Bantamweight Champion, Record 19-1)

The “Dominator” continues to control the bantamweight division. In July, Cruz avenged his only career loss by outpointing Uriah Faber. At the beginning of October he held off Demetrious Johnson, the only fighter with more speed at his weight class. Cruz’s critics complain his style is boring, but no one can accuse him of not working. He fights at a breakneck pace. That combined with his odd stand-up movement, his excellent takedowns, and complete ground game makes him a tough nut to crack. He’s also just a few more fights away from cleaning out the division of contenders.

Next Fight – vs Urijah Faber @UFC148 7/7/12

Other fighters in consideration: Benson Henderson, Cole Konrad, Hector Lombard, Gilbert Melendez, Junior Dos Santos

Jan
20

2011 MMA Awards

Welcome to the first annual (hopefully) Washington Sportsjam year-end awards! Alright, so I know this is very late, but I watched a lot of MMA in 2011 and think I have a good perspective on the year. Let’s look at the best fights and best fighters of last year.

Fight of the Year: Dan Henderson vs. Mauricio “Shogun” Hua at UFC 139

This is the one of the best fights I’ve ever seen. Henderson dominated the first two rounds, tagging Hua multiple times. Somehow, Shogun was able to stay conscious and continue fighting. Hendo won the third round and landed even more shots, but it wasn’t as lopsided as the first two rounds. Then Hua came on and dominated the last two rounds, ironically out-wrestling the All-American and landing a few shots of his own. In the end Henderson won on the cards, but both fighters left it all in the ring.

KO of the Year: Anderson Silva vs Vitor Belfort at UFC 126

With one swift leg kick to the head, Silva KO’d Belfort. Belfort is known for his standup game, but watching this KO, it looked as if Anderson could have ended the fight at any time he chose.

Runner-Up: Lyoto Machida vs. Randy Couture at UFC 129

Submission of the Year: Frank Mir vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueria at UFC 140

This was one of the sickest submissions I’ve ever seen. After Nogueria had rocked Mir with shots, Mir was able to get him to the ground and get a hold on him. Mir kept rolling Nogueria over, making the kimura tighter and tighter, until Big Nog’s arm literally snapped. It was gross and violent in a way that reminded you how dangerous MMA can be.

Comeback of the Year: Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard at UFC 136

Two times in 2011, Gray Maynard almost finished Frankie Edgar in Round 1 of a title fight. Maynard wasn’t able to finish Edgar either time. On the 1st occasion Edgar forced a decision draw, but in the comeback of the year he came back and TKO’d Maynard.

In Round 1 Maynard rocked Edgar with an uppercut and Edgar struggled just to survive the round. Round 2 was very close, really hard to say who the judges picked. However, Maynard let Edgar recover in Round 2. By Round 3 Edgar had regained confidence in his boxing and was slipping-and-ripping effectively. By the 4th round Edgar connected enough to TKO Maynard. It was one of the best comebacks ever in MMA and an incredible show of a champion’s heart.

Fighter of the Year: Jon Jones UFC Light Heavyweight Champion

This was the easiest decision. Jones was unstoppable in 2011 winning all four of his with stoppages. The first was a contender matchup, the second was a title fight, and the last two were title defenses. During that stretch he dispatched three MMA legends violently.  His domination was unmatched in 2011.

Newcomer of the Year: Douglas Lima Bellator Welterweight

Before 2011, Lima has never fought in Bellator. By the end of 2011 he was the Bellator Welterweight Tournament Winner and had a title shot lined up. In the tournament final he had an impressive KO win against UFC vet Ben Saunders.

Runner-Up: Benson Henderson UFC Lightweight

Comeback Fighter of the Year: Josh Koscheck UFC Welterweight

In 2010, Koscheck failed miserably in his title-shot against welterweight king Georges St-Pierre. For five consecutive rounds, GSP punished Koscheck’s face with jabs, eventually breaking his orbital bone. He looked like a broken man after that fight and was out for a long recovery.

At UFC 135 in September he faced UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes. Hughes went for the same eye GSP did with jabs, but Koscheck was able to outbox Hughes, and KO’d him with one second left in Round 1. Though he was clearly the superior standup fighter, it still took guts to stand there and risk taking another beating.

So, those are awards for 2011. Agree, disagree, did I overlook something? Let me know in the comments section.