While veteran Dan Henderson recently indicated that he and the UFC were still working on a new contract, all signs point to “Hendo” having his next fight in place. Therefore, it looks as though the financial matters between the two sides will be or have been sorted out. According to Brazilian website Tatame.com, Henderson will square off at an event in Brazil on March 23 against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. It would be a rematch of one of the Octagon’s all-time classics.
Henderson and Rua first met at UFC 139 in San Jose and produced an epic five-round war where Henderson emerged victorious by unanimous decision. Henderson had Rua in serious trouble in the early parts of the contest, only to see “Shogun” survive a brutal beating and turn the tide by delivering major damage of his own in the fourth and fifth rounds. The 25-minute war was a memorable bout, and now seems to be the perfect time for the rematch to happen.
The 43-year old Henderson remains the no. 6-ranked UFC light heavyweight despite being in the midst of a career-high three-fight losing streak. His most recent appearance in the Octagon was a first-round knockout defeat at the hands of Vitor Belfort. It was the first fight in his 40 fight MMA career where Henderson was stopped via strikes. The reported March 23 fight with Rua would give Henderson the opportunity to revive his career if he can secure a victory against a top-flight opponent.
Rua rejuvenated his career in spectacular fashion with a vicious knockout of James Te Huna at UFC Fight Night 33 in Australia. A perfect left-hook counter finished Te Huna in just 63 seconds and produced a Knockout of the Night bonus. It also ended all of the talk about whether Rua should consider retirement or whether he could move down to middleweight.
Rua snapped a two-bout losing streak after suffering a decision loss to Alexander Gustafsson and a submission defeat against Chael Sonnen. With his devastating performance, Rua showed he still has tremendous finishing ability, and a rematch against Henderson would give him the opportunity to gain some revenge.
At this stage of their legendary careers, it would be difficult to expect a repeat of the remarkable fight that Henderson and Rua waged back in 2011. However, the rematch would have the makings of being another highly entertaining affair.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports