Benson Henderson’s Coach, John Crouch, on Why Win Over Brandon Thatch Put Things in “Different Light”
By Kelsey Mowatt
Benson Henderson has recorded many, impressive wins during his career and is a former UFC lightweight champ, but his victory over Brandon Thatch in February seemed to really buzz fans.
“Smooth” offered to face the powerful welterweight at UFC Fight Night 60, after Stephen Thompson had to withdraw due to injury. Henderson did so despite the fact he had battled fellow lightweight contender Donald Cerrone several weeks earlier, and lost by UD. At the time, Thatch was riding a ten fight winning streak, and was coming off a stoppage win over Paulo Thiago.
Although Henderson was the visibly smaller man, the well rounded fighter used all the elements of his game, and took Thatch out with a fourth round, rear-naked-choke. The win quickly directed widespread praise in Henderson’s direction, and the 32 year-old has elected to remain at 170.
Recently Henderson’s longtime coach, John Crouch, appeared on Full Contact Fighter Radio. Henderson is scheduled to fight Jorge Masvidal at UFC Fight Night 79 on November 21st. When Crouch was asked about why the win over Thatch in particular seemed to stand-out for so many fans, the BJJ black belt said this:
“Yeah. I think finally Ben was perceived as the smaller guy in a fight,” said Crouch. “For some reason, it’s a big deal for guys; for fans to think about the larger man, smaller man you know? Although Ben is kind of an average sized lightweight they always kind of spoke about him like he was a bully, beating up on little guys.”
“I think for the first time he was considerably smaller, and that just kind of put it in a different light,” added Crouch. “For us it was just business as usual. Honestly.”
During Henderson’s climb up the UFC lightweight ranks, and during his run as champ, some fans criticized him for not finishing fights. So, by taking out the dangerous Thatch, it helped silence some of those folks, even if the criticisms may have been unfair.
“Ya, I mean it’s hard. Everyone in the UFC is good…,” said Crouch. “It’s not always that easy to finish somebody. Everybody wants to. Every single fighter in the UFC is training to finish their guy. Every fight. So, it’s not lack of effort that doesn’t get it done, it’s just harder than people think. So yeah, that could be part of it too. You never know.”
UFC FN 79 will take place in Seoul, South Korea.