Dana White 'blown away' by UFC 164's Anthony Pettis, claims new Lightweight champion 'on another level'

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

It was an unlikely outcome, but Anthony Pettis once again impressed at UFC 164 with a first round submission of Lightweight champion Ben Henderson, who is affectionately referred to "Bendo" for his rubber-like ability to escape dangerous situations. Just not last night ...

As if a near-decapitation of Joe Lauzon and then an evisceration of Donald Cerrone wasn't proof-positive that Anthony Pettis is a bad man, "Showtime" continued to impress last night (Sat., Aug. 31, 2013) at UFC 164 against Ben Henderson, who he submitted with a first round armbar.

And he did it in front of a proud home town crowd inside BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisc., to win the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight championship, as well as a $50,000 "Submission of the Night" bonus.

"It's an amazing story," White gushed in a FOXSports.com post-event interview. "If you look at it, Henderson has fought every nasty, tough guy at 155 pounds -- gone to decisions ... you know how it has been. This guy comes out and destroys Ben Henderson [last night]. Even before the armbar, those four kicks to the body hurt him bad. Those body kicks hurt him. Pettis came out mean, nasty and ready ... that kid is on another level. I'm blown away by his performance [last night]."

Indeed, it was obvious that Henderson wanted nothing to do with Pettis' stand up, closing the distance from the outset and looking to stifle his dynamic striking attack. However, it was a strategy that only lasted about two minutes, as Pettis began to find space and land several kicks before Henderson decided to take the mixed martial arts (MMA) match to the ground.

And that turned out to be a fatal mistake in hindsight. That's because Henderson -- a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt -- likely had supreme confidence that he could handle Pettis' grappling a bit better than his diverse and unpredictable upright arsenal.

He couldn't.

"I didn't know what to expect with this fight -- I knew it it was possible [for it to end early]," White said. "But, if the fight ended that early I expected it to be by knockout by Pettis, not a submission."

To watch Pettis submit Henderson in round one of their UFC 164 main event check out full fight video highlights right here.

After the shocking win, one that was a bit confusing because Henderson had to verbally tapout, Pettis didn't waste time trying to book his next fight, calling out UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo, whose camp claimed "Showtime" faked an injury to avoid a scrap with "Scarface." In fact, his head trainer, Andre Pederneiras, promised he would apologize to Pettis for the bold remarks if he defeated Henderson and then stepped inside the Octagon with Aldo.

Pettis has met one of those two demands and is outspoken about his desire to satisfy them all if White and Co. is, of course, amenable to re-scheduling the "super" fight at a weight class to be determined.

"I don't hate the idea [of Pettis fighting Jose Aldo next]," White said. "They were going to fight anyway, that was the original fight. We'll see what happens, we'll see if Aldo once that fight. After that performance I don't think anyone is going to be too excited to go after Pettis."

And for all those combat sports fans, as well as fighters, who think that a potential Anthony Pettis vs. Jose Aldo championship clash is unfair to the other top contenders in the 145- and 155-pound divisions?

"It's definitely not fair to T.J. Grant, who had the title shot and then got hurt," White admitted. "And obviously Ricardo Lamas has been waiting for awhile, too. At the end of the day, look at the run that Pettis had, he beat Henderson back in the WEC and was the champion when this whole thing started and look at how long it's taken him to get back. These kind of things happen sometimes, we'll see what happens."

For more on the UFC 164 main event between Ben Henderson vs. Anthony Pettis click here, here and here.

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