• UFC 139

MMA's own Thrilla in Manila was a draw - White

ESPN staff
November 20, 2011 « Shogun debates decision, calls for Henderson rematch | Chartbeat test »
Dana White talks Henderson v Rua

Dana White has likened Mauricio Shogun Rua v Dan Henderson to the Thrilla in Manila between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, although the UFC president says Saturday's clash should have ended in a draw.

Henderson and Rua put their bodies on the line for 25 punishing minutes in San Jose, producing one of the greatest MMA contests in the sport's history. Both men got rocked on more than one occasion, both got dropped, and at the end neither could summon the energy to celebrate.

For White, the bout was up in the top three he has ever witnessed, and after the recent death of Frazier it was a timely tribute to one of boxing's all-time greats.

"Every time you come off a fight like that, you're going crazy, but that's without a doubt one of the best fights ever in MMA - without a doubt," White said. "I have so much respect for both of those guys to dig down that deep in a five-round fight.

"That was like our Ali-Frazier III. It was unbelievable. It was incredible."

Henderson claimed a unanimous 48-47 decision victory from the judges that could have gone the other way, with debates over a potential 10-8 final round for Shogun. In White's eyes, the bout should have been called a draw.

"This is one of those kind of fights you can say in the first round they both knocked each other down," White told MMAjunkie. "You give Henderson the first three rounds. You give Shogun four, and you give Shogun a 10-8 for a dominant [fifth] round, and it's a draw.

"It's one of those tough ones. That's how I scored it. I scored it a draw. But who the hell am I?"

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