Rundown of post-fight news and notes coming out of UFC 139…
— 13,173 fans filled the HP Pavilion for a $1.268 million live gate.
— Tonight’s two headlining fights were so good, Dana White gave Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Dan Henderson, Wanderlei Silva and Cung Le all $70,000 Fight of the Night bonuses. Michael McDonald earned Knockout of the Night and Urijah Faber picked up Submission of the Night for choking out Brian Bowles.
— Shogun Rua and Dan Henderson have proved throughout the years to be two of the most talented and toughest light heavyweights the sport has ever seen. So what happens when you put them in the cage together? Well, as we witnessed tonight, you get one of the most epic fights this sport has ever seen. That’s right, one of the all-time greatest fights in the history of mixed martial arts. And I’m not just saying that because Dana White did.
“People who have been watching this sport a long time appreciate what [Henderson and Rua] did in there tonight,” said UFC president Dana White.
“To dig down deep in a five-round fight that was our [Muhammad] Ali-[Joe] Frazier III. It was incredible.”
“Bonnar-Griffin is in amazing fight and important for us at the time,” White said. “If this was the WWE, we couldn’t have scripted it any better than the way it went for us that night.
“But when you look at the level these two are at and what was on the line, going five rounds and the way it went — it was one of the sickest fights I’ve ever seen. Ever.”
Just because Dana called it one of the “top three” fights ever at the post-fight press conference though, doesn’t mean he wishes that was the fight they headlined UFC on FOX 1 last weekend. In fact, Dana was relieved Velasquez-JDS didn’t turn into a five-round bloody war like Shogun-Hendo did. He didn’t come right out and say it, but it was pretty clear that he doesn’t think FOX or mainstream America is ready to see two severely busted up fighters with blood-soaked shorts beating the living hell out of each other on national television for 25 minutes.
— As for who won, Dan Henderson was awarded the decision, but that’s up for debate. Many, including myself, scored it a draw, giving the first three rounds to Dan Henderson and the final two to Shogun with the final round being a 10-8. Fightmetric scored it the same way under the 10-point must system, but in terms of overall performance or “effectiveness” as FM calls it, the numbers say Shogun was more deserving of the win. Regardless of who won or should have won though, both Shogun and Hendo deserve a tip of the cap for the performances they turned in tonight. What they did tonight was the reason we love MMA.
— As for what’s next, Dana White confirmed that Dan Henderson is definitely in line for a title shot at either middleweight or light heavyweight, but with Chael Sonnen up next at 185 and Rashad Evans waiting in the wings at 205, Dana wouldn’t commit to either. In other words, if someone gets injured or loses Hendo could very well get the call, but nothing is guaranteed at this point. Hendo made it clear after the fight though that he wants a light heavyweight title shot. Since he’s been fighting there (and above) for several fights now, I think 205 makes a lot more sense than 185 does.
— Wanderlei Silva not only saved himself from a possible forced retirement at UFC 139, he gave us a vintage Axe Murderer finish that we really haven’t seen since the PRIDE days. Wand uncharacteristically hung back in the opening round of the fight but once he cut Cung Le’s eye and smelled blood, he started going in for the kill which ultimately resulted in Cung getting his nose flattened by several knees to the face in the second round. Pic via MMA Mania & Mike Meholovitch
Wanderlei called it one of the great moments in his life.
“I know this sport has no more space for falls,” Silva said at the UFC 139 post-fight press conference. “We are fighting in the best event in world and these are the best [fighters] in the world. I know the responsibility of being here. There is only space for the best guys in the world.”
“My coach told me to attack more in the second round. That was the plan,” Silva explained. “I hit him hard with the knee and I felt he was close to the finish.”
“It’s wonderful [to win]. I can’t talk after my last fight [against Leben] It’s embarrassing that I lost like that,” said Silva. “But in this job, every weekend, [the UFC] makes one event better than the [last]. It was a tough moment for me [in my career], but this victory came at the right moment. This was a great moment in my life.”
— It sounds like Anderson Silva will defend his title in Sao Paulo, Brazil next June. When asked about Brazilian reports claiming that was the time and location of Silva’s next title defense, Dana White tried to play coy, but basically gave it away with a poor poker face. While Chael Sonnen is expected to be Silva’s opponent, Dana said it’s “possible” Chael could be part of the four fight UFC on FOX 2 broadcast in January.
— Dana White confirmed that Urijah Faber is now the number one contender in the bantamweight division. Faber lobbied for him and Dominick Cruz to coach TUF 15 on FX at the press conference, but all Dana did was smirk.