UFC 204: Michael Bisping defeats Dan Henderson by unanimous decision to retain middleweight belt

The Ultimate Fighting Championship headed to England for the much anticipated rematch between Michael Bisping and Dan Henderson, and it certainly didn't disappoint.

UFC 204: Michael Bisping defeats Dan Henderson by unanimous decision to retain middleweight belt
And still the UFC middleweight champion | Photo: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

Manchester, EnglandMichael Bisping remains the UFC Middleweight champion following a unanimous decision win over future Hall of Fame inductee, Dan Henderson, who has now retired from the sport after a career that’s span over 20 years.

After selling out in just six minutes, this became a well anticipated main event as Bisping would go up against old foe Henderson to rectify his loss at UFC 100 – a rematch that has been seven years in the making – which resulted in him retaining the middleweight belt. Who next? We’ll have to see how fights including Luke Rockhold and Jacare Souza pan out.

A night to remember for the future of MMA in Europe

Judges scored the bout 48-47 twice and 49-46 for Bisping which won him the rematch, although in the post-fight press conference, Henderson thought that he had won rounds 1,2 and 5. Whilst rivals, the two did pay their respects to each other with the retaining middleweight champion praising Henderson’s 20 year career following his now retirement.

Jeered before the fight, Henderson received a standing ovation from everyone in Manchester Arena, with 16,000 fans seeing his last ever fight in the sport.

“I appreciate all the support throughout the years, worldwide,” said Henderson in his post-fight interview. “I gave my heart and soul to this sport, and fans like you, even though you booed me at the beginning of the night, made it worthwhile for me to keep competing year after year. I absolutely love the sport. And I want to say thank you to the fans for making this fight happen and thank you to Bisping for giving me this opportunity. My last fight for a belt I came up a little short, but not bad for an old man.”

Fight of the Night

Henderson looked every bit his age as the rounds went on but credit where it’s due, ‘Hendo’ did down Bisping twice in the opening round which kept the champion on his heels. The 46-year-old was just two or three more elbows away from ending the fight in the first round, but during his post-match press conference, the now retired legend didn’t rush in, as he did in 2009 at UFC 100.

Dan Henderson was just a few elbows away from ending the fight | Photo: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports
Dan Henderson was just a few elbows away from ending the fight | Photo: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

The second round was another close one. The exact same thing happened as the first round. Henderson landed his famous ‘H-bomb’ resulting in a cut below Bisping’s eye. Credit to Hendo, he kept us his cardio in the third round but eventually he started to tire. A low blow from Bisping in the fourth round resulted in a short stoppage – and time for Henderson to catch a break from the onslaught.

Henderson had to go for broke in the final round but Bisping stuck to his gameplan, cutting Henderson off and landing right hooks, which eventually won it.