Jorge Masvidal was Henderson's victim Saturday in the main event of UFC Fight Night 79 in Seoul, South Korea. All five rounds were very close, but Henderson got the nod from the judges via split decision (47-48, 48-47, 49-46) in the homeland of his mother.
How he got there might be in question since all the rounds were razor close. But it would be hard to dispute Henderson as the fresher fighter at the end -- and the overall winner of the fight. In his career, Henderson has now won four, five-round split decisions.
Henderson (23-5), the former UFC lightweight champion, got the better of the grappling late and also landed some hard combinations -- and kicks -- in the first round. In the second, Masvidal started to mix in nice body kicks that clearly affected Henderson. But "Smooth" didn't show any signs of wear in the late rounds. Masvidal (29-10), who filled in on short notice when Thiago Alves got hurt, did. He only trained for a three-round fight with Dong Hyun Kim before getting the call to replace Alves less than two weeks ago.
Henderson, 32, has now won two in a row as a welterweight after a long successful run at 155. This marked the final fight on his UFC contract. And Henderson had some cryptic things to say in his post-fight interview with Kenny Florian.
"Was that impressive enough to warrant facing off with you?" Henderson said.
Masvidal, 31, certainly didn't lose any steam with the loss. He only gained it by taking a former champion to the brink. The American Top Team product has still won four of his last six fights and is 1-1 since moving up to welterweight himself.
Dong Hyun Kim made it look easy in front of his hometown crowd for the first time in his UFC career. Kim used a judo toss to get Dominic Waters down early and transitioned right into a mounted guillotine. Waters could not survive the punches and Kim earned himself a TKO win in just 3:11.
Kim (21-3), the UFC's best fighter from South Korea, called out Demian Maia afterward. Maia beat Kim in 2012 when Kim sustained a rib injury during the bout. "Stun Gun" also has big plans for the future.
"I will make my title match happen next year right here in Korea," he said.
Kim, 34, has won six of seven and his only career losses have come against Maia, Tyron Woodley and Carlos Condit. Waters (9-4), who filled in on short notice, was coming off a loss in his UFC debut in July.
In a wild, back-and-forth bout, Alberto Mina stunned the crowd by defeating Yoshihiro Akiyama via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28). Mina likely won the first and second rounds -- the latter due to a late flurry -- but Akiyama could have been given a 10-8 in the third after a dominant five minutes. Akiyama almost finished Mina in the third, but the judges didn't think it warranted anything more than a 10-9.
Akiyama (14-6), better known as Choo Sung Hoon in South Korea, had not fought since a win over Amir Sadollah in September 2014. The Japanese fighter, who is of Korean heritage, is a huge celebrity in South Korea, where he stars in the very popular "Return of Superman" reality show." Mina (12-0), who recently moved to Kings MMA, has won both of his UFC bouts.
Doo Ho Choi stole the show in the main card opener. "The Korean Superboy" finished Sam Sicilia by TKO at just 1:33 of the first round. Choi, a top prospect, landed combination after combination, dropping Sicilia twice in the early going. The second time, Choi finished on the ground.
Choi (12-1), who is only 24 years old, called out Tatsuya Kawajiri afterward and said he wanted a top-10 opponent in 2016. Sicilia (15-5) had won two in a row coming in.
On the prelims, Dongi Yang whipped the crowd into a fervor with a TKO of Jake Collier at 1:50 of the second round. Collier rolled for a kneebar, but was unsuccessful. Yang capitalized by raining down punches and Collier turtled up, forcing referee Herb Dean to step in. Yang (13-3), making his UFC return after three years, has won three straight.
In perhaps the best fight of the early show, See Heo Ham defeated Cortney Casey via unanimous decision. Freddy Serrano won in just 44 seconds when Zhikui Yao appeared to have broken his arm on a Serrano takedown attempt.