It will be all but impossible for legendary competitors Mauricio Rua and Dan Henderson to match the brutality and intensity of their first meeting, but there’s no doubt fans are hoping they can produce another entertaining affair this weekend at UFC Fight Night 38 in Brazil.
Their first go-round back in 2011 was an epic five-round battle at UFC 139 in San Jose that still stands as one of the most memorable fights in Octagon history. Both men were seemingly at the top of their games that night, and both had to muster up plenty of courage to last the grueling 25-minute encounter.
Henderson had Rua nearly finished multiple times in the early portion of the fight, but “Shogun” somehow survived the onslaught and had “Hendo” hanging on in the final two rounds. Both men were bloodied and battered at the end of five thrilling rounds, and it was Henderson being awarded the unanimous decision victory.
Rua has momentum on his side thanks to a devastating performance in his last fight. The former light-heavyweight champion snapped a two fight losing skid by blasting out James Te Huna at Fight Night 33 in Australia in a mere 63 seconds. It was Rua’s 19th knockout in 22 career wins, and was one the most vicious finishes of his career. He’s looking for back-to-back wins for the first time since 2009.
The 43-year-old Henderson is on the first three-fight losing streak of his decorated career, having been knocked out for the first time ever by Vitor Belfort at Fight Night 32 in Brazil. The veteran had to swallow his pride and accept a substantial pay cut to remain with the organization, and hopes to get back on track with a victory against Rua.
Both fighters carry instant name recognition, and the winner this weekend will automatically be in line for another high-profile opportunity moving forward. The loser will find themselves perhaps contemplating retirement and maybe conceding that all the wars and Father Time have finally taken a toll.
It’ll be very interesting to see what transpires in Brazil this weekend. If Rua vs. Henderson 2 is just half as exciting as their initial matchup, fans will end up being the big winners.