Formerchampion, , tried his hand at last night (Feb. 14, 2015) -- on short notice no less -- against in the main event of UFC Fight Night 60, which took place inside 1STBANK Center in Broomfield, Colorado.
And "Smooth" made a very bold, and awesome, decision.
Thatch, the much larger fighter, came out herking and jerking, clearly eager to get the action started sooner than later. Henderson lands two nice kicks early, and rips a body punch, but it doesn't slow down Thatch. Henderson slips a punch and lands a stiff jab ... moments later he puts Thatch on the ground with a front kick.
Thatch appears to be looking for a homerun shot, while Henderson continues to score points with kicks and body punches. Nice flying knee, then kick, from Thatch that appears to stun Henderson -- clearly his biggest moment of the fight so far.
Henderson lands another body shot and the rounds ends, with Thatch seeing his first second round ever inside the Octagon.
Thatch continues the constant pressure to start round two, missing with a big knee that could have been disastrous for Henderson. Henderson continues to circle away to avoid Thatch's power, but he eats a foot to the face and then a spinning heel kick to the body along the cage.
Henderson misses on an upper cut and Thatch takes advantage, landing a straight right hand that sent the former champion backpedaling into the fence. Thatch continues to pour it on, his punches now finding their marks. He fakes a punch and then sweeps the leg for a second time this round -- Thatch really seems to be finding his groove heading into round three.
Henderson lands a head kick early in the third round and follows it up with a nice combination of jabs. Thatch is seemingly unaffected and goes right back into hunt mode. Henderson attempts a takedown and Thatch resists, but ultimately relents. On the ground, Henderson is able to get Thatch's back, finally leveling the playing field against the bigger, stronger opponent.
Thatch rolls to his belly to try and escape, while Henderson locks down the body and softens him up, patiently waiting to attack the neck. Henderson goes for a quick armbar and Thatch is finally able to escape the dangerous situation ... just in time for round four.
"Championship" rounds, which would seemingly favor Henderson, considering his extensive experience. Thatch, meanwhile, has his right eye swollen shut, possibly from a Henderson forearm. Henderson delivers a huge left to kickoff the action, while Thatch pumps several powerful jabs.
Henderson attempts another single-leg takedown, but Thatch defends and then uncorks a knee to the forehead. His second attempt is textbook, however, diving for the takedown under a looping right hand. Thatch gives up his back once again with two minutes to go in the round. Henderson softens up Thatch, who is now bleeding from his nose.
Thatch attempts to get to his feet, but Henderson sucks him back down and slips his forearm across his throat. It's in deep and Thatch can't escape, tapping to a rear-naked choke.
What a performance from Henderson, who was bullied and battered for two rounds, storming back to score a sensational finish.
For complete UFC Fight Night 60: "Henderson vs. Thatch" results, including play-by-play updates, click here.