Ben Henderson will be good to go at UFC 150 on Sat., Aug. 11, 2012, in Denver, Colorado. Photo by Esther Lin/MMA Fighting.
The last time the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) rolled into Denver, Colorado, it did so with its UFC 135: "Jones vs. Rampage" event. Two of the five main card bouts featured heavyweights who went the distance and were left gasping for air that simply wasn't there.
The problem is "The Mile High City" is named as such for its infamous high altitude, which makes it harder to get oxygen. It's noticeable when one goes for a light jog, so you can imagine the toll it takes on a man engaged in a hard-fought battle for 15 minutes in front of thousands of screaming fans.
In short, it wasn't pretty.
Travis Browne was one of the men who performed that night and he spoke of the conditions:
"The biggest thing that you have to get over when you fight there is that your body doesn't respond the same at the high altitude. You can't catch your breath and your body fails a lot quicker. I think Benson and Donald will have advantages in their fights because they've been training at high altitudes for their entire camps. It's not something that you can get used to in a short amount of time. You really have to spend a lot of time adjusting."
That comes via UFC press release, aptly entitled "Fighters make weight, warned of altitude." Make no mistake, though, this is just as much a warning for fans that there is an outside chance that if a fight or two runs long, it could get ugly.
Then again, there's a reason not a single fighter on this card weighs more than 185-pounds and seven of the 10 bouts will be contested at 155-pounds or lower.
Ben Henderson, who will headline the event opposite Frankie Edgar in a lightweight championship rematch from earlier this year, spoke of the rigors of fighting in Denver, something he knows all about being from the area:
"I know what this air can do to your lungs. I'm from Colorado Springs, and you have to take this seriously. I've been here for three weeks already. You can feel it when you run, or spar. You body gives out earlier, you can't recover as fast. I grew up here, and you can get used to it, but that doesn't happen in a week or two weeks. That's why I've been here for a while now."
Does that give him a slight edge over Edgar? Maybe. "The Answer" is a well conditioned athlete who should do just fine despite the conditions.
The UFC is undoubtedly hoping the same is true for everyone else on the card. Or each fight to be finished in the first round and all of this ends up being a moot point.
MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the main card action on fight night (Saturday, August 11, 2012), which is slated to air at 10 p.m. ET on PPV. The latest quick updates of the live action will begin to flow earlier than that around 8:00 p.m. ET with the "Prelims" bouts on Facebook and FX Channel.