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Maggie Hendricks

WEC 53 post-fight: Coaching TUF, bonuses and more

Maggie Hendricks
Cagewriter

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"What a great way to finish that up!" Reed Harris, general manager of the WEC, said to start the final press conference for the WEC, following a blockbuster fight between Anthony Pettis and Ben Henderson. Harris was referring to the gravity-defying kick from Pettis that secured his win over Henderson and the WEC lightweight title. Other notes from the WEC 53 press conference:

-- The fight of the night bonus was given to Henderson/Pettis for their five-round bout, knockout of the night to Eddie Wineland for knocking out Ken Stone with a slam, and submission of the night was to Shane Roller for his rear naked choke of former champion Jamie Varner. The bonuses were for $10,000.

-- Henderson was emotional after the fight, thanking the WEC and his home crowd of Glendale, Ariz. He said he didn't remember the kick, but that he knows it will be on the highlight reel for a while.

-- "It still doesn't feel real," Pettis said about his title. He said he has done that amazing kick in practice before, but felt the pressure to do something big going into the final round of the fight. Henderson admitted that he was woozy after the kick, but conscious.

-- Cruz continued to push for a rematch with Urijah Faber, and pointed out how different he is as a fighter. "I'm a completely different fighter. My stand-up's better, my wrestling's better, my ground game's better. I'm on a whole different level than Urijah," Cruz said.

-- After the final WEC fights, Harris spoke of his fighters like a proud father. "All these guys are going to make a mark in the UFC, and I couldn't be prouder," Harris said.

-- "When it first happened, I was happy because I got the knockout, but then when he wasn't moving, I was worried," Eddie Wineland said about the frightening knockout of Ken Stone. He said that he made sure he got word Stone's health after the fight.

-- Though there were plenty of UFC stars on hand in Arizona, Harris was happiest about having a Bear in attendance. Harris, a native of suburban Chicago, said that he was excited to see Jim McMahon at the fights, the quarterback of the Super Bowl XX champion Chicago Bears.

-- Pettis' first fight in the UFC will be for the UFC lightweight title with the winner of the Jan. 1 bout between champ Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard, but he doesn't care who it is. "I haven't had time to think about Edgar/Maynard yet," Pettis said. "I was fighting Ben Henderson, and it's all I cared about."

-- Cruz said he'd happily accept a coaching gig on "The Ultimate Fighter" against Urijah Faber. "I would accept it, and I would be stoked. It would be awesome, because I'd get my loss back."

-- Harris said that several of the unaired preliminary fights will be available for free on UFC.com, and the Brad Pickett-Ivan Menjivar decision will be on Versus.com on Friday. More fights will be released over the weekend.

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