43-year-old Dan Henderson knows he’s on borrowed time in making one last UFC title run, but he’s definitely getting an opportunity to make a major statement in his next fight. After snapping a three-fight losing streak with a thrilling come-from-behind knockout win over Mauricio Rua at Fight Night 38 in Brazil, “Hendo” will battle unbeaten fellow contender Daniel Cormier at UFC 175.
The two fighters have verbally agreed to the July 5 matchup and the winner reportedly will be next in line for a future title shot after current no. 1 contender Alexander Gustafsson gets another opportunity.
Henderson showed his well-known toughness in the rematch against “Shogun” as he was nearly finished in the opening round and rocked again in round two. He survived the early onslaught and finished Rua in brutal fashion in the third round after landing a ferocious right hand and follow-up strikes. It was exactly what the doctor ordered for Henderson in rejuvenating his career and maintaining his top-10 status in the 205-pound division.
He’s accomplished just about everything during a lengthy MMA career except for a UFC championship. Henderson failed in a middleweight title fight at UFC 82 when he was submitted by Anderson Silva, and had a light-heavyweight title opportunity against Jon Jones fall through at UFC 151 because of a knee injury.
Jones is set to defend his title this month at UFC 172 against dangerous Brazilian Glover Teixeira. While Henderson may have slowed over time, he still possesses tremendous power, and all it takes is one H-Bomb to change the complexion of a fight.
As for the undefeated Cormier, the former Strikeforce heavyweight Grand Prix winner also has designs on a light heavyweight title shot. He’s 3-0 inside the Octagon and made an impressive 205-pound debut with a first-round destruction of a badly overmatched Patrick Cummins at UFC 170. Cormier, who made the move down in weight from the heavyweight ranks, had been slated to face former champ Rashad Evans, but “Suga” was forced to withdraw due to a serious knee injury.
Cormier is in need of a major step up in competition after the Cummins mismatch. A bout against Henderson fits the bill when it comes to a high-profile, credible opponent. “DC” is intent on getting his title opportunity and a victory over Henderson will get him that shot.
This fight will have major ramifications within the 205-pound landscape. It should be an entertaining affair as both competitors possess knockout power and have solid wrestling pedigrees. Henderson will be looking to carry over the momentum from his exciting win over Rua, while Cormier gets the chance to prove that the move down in weight was a solid career decision.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports