Dan Henderson had to wait over a year to experience a win in the UFC, but it didn’t take nearly as long to end his recent rough streak in the octagon.
The 44-year-old Henderson (31-13) knocked No. 13-ranked Tim Boetsch out 28 seconds into the first round to take a victory in the five-round bout that represented the middleweight portion of the main card for Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 68 at the Smoothie King Center.
Henderson, who came into Saturday’s fight with many questions surrounding his future in MMA after losing five of his previous six fights, said that it felt like a weight had been lifted off his shoulders after the win.
“Like I said, winning is better than losing,” Henderson said. “After the last couple years I’ve had, it probably feels extra special to kind of get back to my old self and my ways that I like to finish fights.”
Henderson also added that he wanted to eliminate any sentiment that he may decide to retire after his surprising performance in Saturday’s win.
“It would be nice,” Henderson said of ending his career with a win. “So I guess I’ll just have to go do that in my next couple fights also.”
Boetsch (18-9) has lost three of his last four bouts following Saturday’s knockout.
In other matches:
SHAWN JORDAN DEF. DERRICK LEWIS: Former LSU fullback Jordan (18-6) defeated New Orleans native Derrick Lewis in a preliminary heavyweight bout via a technical knockout in the second round.
Both fighters went back and forth in a vicious first round, but Jordan caught Lewis with a kick to the face early in the second round that dazed him. The fight was called a few moments later once Lewis wasn’t able to protect himself from Jordan’s ground-and-pound attack.
“Any victory in the UFC is huge,” Jordan said. “I want to keep winning and keep getting better fights. I want to get guys in the top 10. I did well, so I hope I get another opponent quick.”
Jordan, the 18th-ranked heavyweight in UFC, racked up his third win in a row on Saturday and said the large contingency of LSU fans in attendance gave him inspiration during the fight.
“I loved those LSU chants,” Jordan said. “It was great to be in front of Louisiana fans.”
Lewis entered Saturday winning three of his last four fights, but had his record drop to 12-4 following Saturday’s loss.
BEN ROTHWELL DEF. MATT MITRIONE: No. 9 heavyweight Rothwell (35-9) defeated No. 13 Mitrione in the heavyweight portion of Saturday’s main card by forcing a first-round submission.
With the win, Rothwell moved his win streak up to four and did it with a method he rarely uses. Usually a heavy-handed brawler, Rothwell came into Saturday’s bout with 27 career knockouts, including his past three fights.
“With my last fight, you can see that I’m just in a different place right now,” Rothwell said. “I’ve finally become the martial artist I knew I could be.”
Rothwell added after the fight that his intention is to now make a plea for the No. 1 contender spot in the heavyweight division.
“Andre Arlovski is on a winning streak and ranked fourth, and I think him and I should fight for the next spot,” Rothwell said. “The only fight that matters to me now is the No. 1 contender spot.”
With Saturday’s loss, Mitrione’s record fell to 9-4.