UFC 129 fight card: Ben Henderson's quest for new life against Mark Bocek

Photo via UFC.com

You would think being involved in the very last fight, at the final event of a successful promotion, in what turned out to be a candidate for "Fight of the Year," would be a good thing.

In the case of Benson Henderson, it wasn't.

Not only did the dynamic young Colorado native lose his lightweight championship, he was posterized by Anthony Pettis in the process, who, in the final moments of the last fight in WEC history, landed one of the most amazing head kicks in MMA history.

Henderson came up short in one of the biggest fights of his life and what's worse, was more or less humiliated in the process. Worse still, is the staying power of that kick.

To this day, if you type in his name on Google, three of the top five search suggestions revolve around that fight. It doesn't take a genius to know that it's not a good thing when enough people are searching for "Ben Henderson gets kicked in the face" to make it a featured result on the largest website on the Internet.

Part of the reason for that is that night in Arizona marked the last time "Bendo" was in the cage plying his trade. That ends tonight when he climbs into the Octagon for his debut in the world's largest fight promotion against Mark Bocek.

He's not only getting the chance to impress against a top contender at 155-pounds. He's also getting the opportunity to erase the memory of that cold, painful December night.

WEC 53: "Henderson vs. Pettis" will long be remembered not just for it being the final event put on by "the promotion with all the little guys," but for the "Showtime off-the-wall Kick" Pettis landed on Henderson.

Unfortunately, there are likely quite a few fans, even those educated in the sport, that don't realize how highly credentialed Ben Henderson actually is.

Two championships, multiple fight night bonuses and awards and an over 80-percent finishing rate in his 12 career fights are just a few of his notable accomplishments.

At just 27 years-old, and despite those achievements, the lightweight wrestler has his entire career ahead of him. But erasing the memory of that kick off the cage will go a long way in establishing him, once again, as a top contender at 155-pounds.

To do that, he'll need an impressive victory in his UFC debut against savvy submission specialist Mark Bocek. It won't be easy; the Canadian will be on his home turf, fighting in front of 55,000 fans in the same city he was born and raised.

Not only that, Bocek is extremely motivated, as he's knocking on the door that leads to the upper echelon of the division after a "Submission of the Night" winning triangle choke of jiu-jitsu wizard Dustin Hazelett.

It's an intimidating setup for Henderson but a necessary one. After all, what better way to forget such an astounding failure than with an equally convincing triumph?

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