For UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson, it was a moment that he’d like to forget.
In a UFC 164 television promo, Henderson talks about removing the “stain” from his soul.
It’s known as the “Showtime” kick.
That kick was so extraordinary that the UFC still plays highlights of it even though it was a part of the now-defunct WEC, World Extreme Cagefighting, and nearly three years old.
“The whole fight was pretty close… Anthony let it all out, landing a pretty cool kick and ever since, I've been working to redeem myself,” Henderson said on a media conference call Tuesday.
In December 2010, Henderson was the WEC champion defending his title against Anthony “Showtime” Pettis in Glendale, Ariz., near Henderson’s hometown. The event was the final WEC one before ZUFFA LLC let its flagship MMA promotion, UFC, absorb it.
In a five-round title fight, Henderson and Pettis were arguably tied as they headed into the fifth round. Toward the end of the fight, Pettis used the cage to spring himself toward Henderson, kicking him in the head.
Henderson recovered, but the fight and the championship went to Pettis when the judge’s scorecard came in.
“I didn't win the fight on one kick, I put the work in the other four rounds to get myself in that position,” Pettis said on the conference call.
Nearly three years later, fans will finally see the rematch – but circumstances are much different.
Pettis’ first UFC fight was a setback – he lost to Clay Guida and it cost him a title shot. A few injuries, some impressive victories and a 145-pound title match up that never happened, and Pettis is finally fighting for lightweight gold in the UFC.
Henderson, on the other hand, hasn’t lost since. He has become one of the pound-for-pound best in MMA and has beaten some of MMA’s elite fighters, including Frankie Edgar and Gilbert Melendez, in some close bouts.
The two fighters forever connected by their WEC rivalry will meet again August 31st – this time in Pettis’ hometown of Milwaukee, Wis.
“The last time we fought in his hometown, now we're in my hometown. I have my work cut out for me,” Pettis said.
While Henderson looks to validate his title and put the highlight to rest, the same could be said for Pettis – who respects Henderson but wants to prove he’s more than just a highlight.
“I’m not going to live off of [the kick]. It happened. We’re past it. I mean two or three years later, I got to fight him again and he’s the champ,” Pettis told Fox News Latino on the call. “I’m still not the champ. I got a lot to prove and to work for.”
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