The scene around my living room on Saturday night during the UFC 139 broadcast was typical of any UFC event. The room was filled with constant rambling about some obscure fight I had watched the week prior, my buddy nodding with no idea who the hell I was talking about, a bunch of laughs, and a consistent flow of beer from the refrigerator. Like I said, a typical Saturday night with the UFC pay-per-view echoing loudly through the halls of my historic American Foursquare.
As we keenly watched the main event battle between former Pride champion Dan Henderson and former UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio Rua unfold, the seat shift occurred. The term is a work in progress, but we've all done it. It's that moment in a fight when you sing your praises to the Lord and your body follows suit by bucking up to the edge of your seat.
Henderson's bevy of right hands and Rua's miraculous ability to maintain consciousness was the moment that sparked the shift. The action that followed was enthralling, causing our eyes to focus intently on the television as our legs and hands twitched nervously. What we were witnessing was a moment that creates fans for life.
Rua's uppercut blast in the fourth round propelled viewers to their feet. It also vaulted the fight from a great performance by Dan Henderson to an all-time, memorable bout that nobody watching would ever forget. Want to get a friend who doesn't watch MMA into MMA? Dan Henderson vs. Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua just became the ultimate persuader.
Rua dominated an exhausted Dan Henderson to the final bell, although he ultimately lost on the scorecards due to Henderson's dominance in the first three rounds. There wasn't a loser though. At least not in the context of what the sports' ultimate goal is. We were all thoroughly entertained and willing participants in the emotional roller coaster ride that Henderson vs. Rua provided us. It fed our appetite and provided the perfect example of why we will maintain our resolve as deeply interested fans in the sport for years to come. Bouts like Henderson vs. Rua are rare, but when they come along -- it's difficult to believe the sport will ever fade away.