- Brett Okamoto, ESPN Staff Writer
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You might have felt downright worried for Henderson's safety on Feb. 13, after photos of the UFC weigh-in showcased just how vastly undersized the former lightweight champion was against Thatch.
Size isn't everything, but as Henderson stared down the 6-foot-2 Thatch -- whose back muscles appeared to weigh as much as Henderson's entire frame -- a fitting caption for the scene could easily have been: What has Ben gotten himself into?
And early in that welterweight fight, which Henderson took on short notice after losing a disappointing decision to Donald Cerrone, it did look as though Henderson might have bit off more than he could chew. Thatch was an immovable object. Even when Henderson was doing well, it almost felt as though he were putting off the inevitable -- much like a fly might annoy a giant before ultimately getting squished.
But by the third round, Henderson was dragging Thatch into that proverbial deep water and drowning him. David was smothering Goliath, and doing it one takedown and guard-pass at a time. Goliath finally submitted in the fourth to a rear-naked choke.
Fight of the year candidates tend to be slugfest brawls filled with action and momentum changes, with two guys digging deep at a time when both should be falling down. This fight between Henderson and Thatch had shades of that here and there, but the reason this was the best fight of the last six months was due mostly to the grit and savvy gamesmanship of Henderson. The guy just wasn't going to be denied. It almost had a touch of old-school, UFC 1 to it -- the smaller guy utilizing technique and experience to beat the bigger, scarier man.
As much as anything, it sure was entertaining to watch.
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