VIDEO: Anthony Pettis' Matrix Kick to Benson Henderson's Face at WEC 53 Belongs in the Smithsonian
By Sam Dunn
World Extreme Cagefighting has been defunct since it was folded into the UFC at the end of 2010, but its final event, WEC 53, was an uncommon treasure trove of violence worth keeping alive forever. Eddie Wineland scored a knockout with a slam. Dominick Cruz starred in the co-main. Donald Cerrone was practically a baby. Renan Barao was actually good, still! Indeed, there was a lot to love. But speaking of Cruz and Cowboy, it's time to look ahead to this weekend's UFC 249 mega-card, one that happens to feature another WEC 53 veteran, Anthony "Showtime" Pettis. In that night's main event, he gave us one of the greatest strikes in MMA history that didn't produce an instant knockout, leaping off the side of the cage like a ninja to kick Benson Henderson in the face.
"I KNOW KUNG FU," Pettis said, using only his foot. "I REALLY DO UNDERSTAND THIS COMPLETELY," Bendo's face said, probably crying.
The fact that Henderson, who ultimately lost the WEC lightweight title in this one by unanimous decision, didn't immediately die and catch on fire and get sucked right into the core of the earth like in the end of "Drag Me to Hell" defies explanation. In a way, it's a feather in his cap, but really, it's one gigantic reason to get pumped for the UFC's return.
And really, it ought to be in the Smithsonian due to its sheer, unexpected brilliance.
Cerrone may very well bounce back from his three-fight losing streak to prevail against Showtime in their long-awaited rematch. Cruz may resurrect himself and make it clearer than clear that he's the bantamweight GOAT. But as long as we're regaling in all this WEC nostalgia, there's just nothing quite like the moment that Anthony Pettis declared himself The One and rebooted Benson Henderson's dome.