You know what they say: Never leave it in the hands of the judges.
Ben Henderson scored a split decision victory over Josh Thomson in the main event of UFC on FOX 10 last night (Sat., Jan. 25, 2014) at United Center in Chicago, Illinois. And for some observers, it was another lucky offering gifted to "Bendo" (see official scorecard here).
Nevertheless, Henderson shares the spotlight with Donald Cerrone, who decimated Adriano Martins via head kick earlier in the evening (watch video highlights here).
Nonetheless, in mixed martial arts (MMA), each bout can have only one winner and one loser. Earning a victory inside the world-famous Octagon is the highest of highs, while suffering a defeat in front of millions of viewers can be the lowest of lows.
Every competitor who steps foot in the eight-walled cage is looking for that moment of glory. Some capture it, others don't.
There were several shining stars on UFC on FOX 10, including comeback performances and close calls. With that said, it's time to name the biggest winner and biggest loser (and their runner ups) from last night in "Windy City."
Let's do this:
Biggest Winner -- Donald Cerrone
Coming into this fight, "Cowboy" was even (2-2) in his last four bouts. But, submitting Evan Dunham at UFC 167 in Nov. 2013 was the perfect way to re-establish his confidence.
Cerrone looked quick and strong on the feet despite Adriano Martins' gameness and willingness to engage wherever (watch the video replay of Cerrone's knockout here).
Losing to Rafael dos Anjos, Anthony Pettis and Nate Diaz in the UFC is nothing to be ashamed of, but in the world of fighting, excuses aren't going to get anyone anywhere.
With "Cowboy" being a naturally marketable figure -- along with the fact that his fights are usually far from boring -- he has the gift that some don't in this sport, which is the ability to find himself in a big fight over and over again.
That's exactly where Cerrone will end up after an impressive performance in Chicago.
He also sets the new record for Zuffa fight bonuses during his time with the UFC and World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC), clocking in at 13 with "Knockout of the Night" honors.
Runner Up -- Ben Henderson
Call him the king of split decisions, but you can't argue the official ruling once it has been determined.
"Bendo" surely has his naysayers, and after his split decision win over Josh Thomson last night, it's safe to say he's always going to have haters.
Strikingly enough, Henderson is one of the most complete fighters on the entire roster. And despite his setbacks during the fight, there's no denying he is a tough match up for anyone that comes in his way.
Can he warrant this tag because he should have lost? It is possible, but let's look at the positives.
He basically canceled out Thomson's supposed title shot with a win. And even if Henderson has to beat another opponent before a rubber match with Pettis (unless the company decides otherwise), you can bet he would do his best to perform smoothly -- something that observers feel he hasn't done enough of when it comes to his razor-thin decisions.
Has he done enough to be reconsidered as one of the best fighters in the world?
Biggest Loser -- Josh Thomson
Regardless how the decision could have went, "The Punk" sort of lost it all in Chicago.
Most notably, the title shot that Thomson had secured under his belt is now gone. Meanwhile, Pettis awaits a new undetermined challenger.
Sadly, for Thomson, he confirmed that he broke his thumb in the fight, and it was truly unfortunate since the argument can be made that he was winning the fight up until then (see FightMetric report here).
At the post-fight press conference, Thomson dropped hints of retirement. And even though he controlled Henderson on the mat with takedowns better than anyone we have seen thus far (proving he's still got the skills to fight the best out there), there is no denying his train of thought is gearing toward calling it quits.
The decision might have been bad for some, and that makes it that much worse for the veteran.
Runner Up -- Gabriel Gonzaga
Losing to Stipe Miocic, this was a chance for Gonzaga to climb back into the Heavyweight ranks, possibly challenging those in the Top 5 of the division and make his presence felt.
After losing his chance to become champion against Randy Couture in 2007, he probably loses his chance to challenge for a title ever again in the UFC, after going 4-1 in his Octagon return.
At the age of 34, "Napao" needs to change his training regimen and find an answer for his counterparts who possess an edge in boxing ... and cardio. It's nice to own your own gym, but if Gonzaga cannot improve with superior training partners, how could he ever contend again?
This seemed like his last chance to make that claim that he would be able to chase the gold once again.
For complete coverage of UFC on FOX 10: "Henderson vs. Thomson" check out our story stream here.