Benson Henderson's coach John Crouch appeared recently on The MMA Hour and discussed Henderson's razor-think and controversial win over Josh Thomson at UFC on FOX 10 on Saturday.
"In my mind, he was definitely playing more of a points game than we were," said Crouch, as transcribed by MMAFighting. "He was trying to win the rounds. He was trying to win according to the judges' scorecard."
"I honestly, I don't understand the uproar. I thought we won the fight clearly. We lost the first. After that, Josh got some great takedowns, he's really tricky in the clinch, he's got some great trips and he's got some really great highlights against Gilbert with those trips. But he didn't do anything. I don't feel like Josh ever tried to finish the fight, not once. Benson has taken a lot of criticism for not trying to finish, but I feel like we were the aggressor the whole time. Honestly, that's what led us to make a couple of mistakes to give up positions, was trying to be aggressive. So I didn't really think it was questionable."
UFC president Dana White was asked post-fight if the win Saturday would earn Henderson a title shot.
"No," said White. "But, I mean, that was a Ben Henderson fight. When Ben Henderson has the title, or he's trying to get back to the title, that's a Ben Henderson fight. I mean, we've seen that fight a million times.
"It's not about even being more aggressive. He's a talented fighter. He's just one of these guys -- he's a grinder, he's not a finisher."
"Dana doesn't like us too much," said the coach. "Benson's never gotten to sit at the cool table, you know? And I think it's unfortunate because he's a great dude, and he works super hard. Not that other people don't, but you know Ben, you've been around him. He's nothing but just a humble great guy, and he works his butt off. So I'm not surprised by the backlash, but I am disappointed by it, certainly."
"I don't know if he doesn't like Ben, but he's certainly not a fan of how Ben wins his fights."
"I think he said it a few times, hasn't he? Grinding it out, Benson Henderson style fight. Winning close decisions. He said that, and you know, everybody would love to have finishes. God, it'd be great. If somebody could show me how to make his left hand explode people's heads when he threw it, it'd be awesome. Let's do that."
"When you play in the NFL, you don't always win 70-0. Sometimes you win in overtime when the other guy fumbles the snap and you kick a field goal that bounces off the uprights. Sometimes you win those games, and you've got to take those games as well as the big ones. So it's just a little frustrating to hear him get that criticism."
"We're fighting the best people in the world over and over again. Still nobody's finished Frankie Edgar, right? And Gilbert Melendez, same thing. All the last guys we've fought.
"Benson isn't really one of those loud, talky guys. It's just not him. So some of the people get more press and more attention, which is fine with him -- and that's honestly fine with me because it leaves us to train -- but I feel like it doesn't give him the proper amount of respect.
"Like, it wasn't Josh's problem that the fight didn't go in an exciting fashion? It was our fault, right? We didn't do enough to do what we were supposed to do? In my mind, Josh was the one who fought a more technical, point-oriented fight. Maybe it was because of his hand was hurt. There's reasons for it -- I'm not saying it was a bad strategy, it almost worked. But it's just, you know, I'd like to see Benson get the love that other people get too, that's all."
"Sometimes it's tough as a trainer. You see the guys sweat, you see them bleed, and they're doing everything they can. And not just my guy. Like when GSP and Johny Hendricks went down, man, the guy can't do anything more than his best. That's it. What do you want him to do?
"Jon Fitch was in trouble for doing it. Jon Fitch was great. What are you supposed to do, he's not a knockout guy? It's frustrating for me that that's such an integral part of our sport. I know people want to see knockouts. I know they love to see people just get in there and go crazy, but man, that's not smart fighting. Your career doesn't last very long when you're one of those guys. You get ‘Fight of the Night' bonus, and your record in the UFC is 1-3, and then you're fighting for $2,000 at some local show. That's it. Then you never go back, and you have all these bad habits and you don't fight smart. Some guys are great at it, and that's great, more power to them. But that's a hard way to go, and you have to have some natural gifts to be able to do that."
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