Dan Henderson is one of the greatest fighters the world has seen. The things he has done in Pride and the UFC have proven that. He is the rare breed of fighter who continues to improve even when father time takes away elements of their game. He deserves all the respect in the world, but he does not deserve to be in a title-eliminator against Daniel Cormier.
Since returning to the UFC, matchmakers have been pushing for a Henderson title shot against the champ, currently Jon Jones. In his UFC return bout, he was awarded a fight with Mauricio Rua (which was hands down one of the greatest fights in the modern-day UFC). With that victory, he was on deck for a title shot.
Since the victory over Rua, Henderson has gone 1-3. He lost three fights in a row to Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans and Vitor Belfort. Two of those fights, Evans and Machida, were by split decision. He lost to Belfort via knockout.
Since returning to the UFC, the only fighter Henderson has defeated is Shogun, the most recent time being on Mar. 23. Nowadays, a victory over Shogun doesn’t warrant a title shot. Since the 2011 loss to Henderson, Shogun is 2-3 with victories over Brandon Vera and James Te Huna. The losses came to Alexander Gustafsson, Chael Sonnen and Henderson (again).
Although the light heavyweight division is not booming with contenders, there are still more deserving fighters. Gustafsson pushed Jones to the limit in their title bout and has only lost once since 2010. Fans would love to see that rematch.
There is also Phil Davis, who is on a three-fight win streak. With his key victory coming against Machida, Davis has proven that a title shot should be in his near future with another win or two. He is slated to battle the re-emergent Anthony Johnson at UFC 172.
Then there is the former light heavyweight champion, Evans. Evans has back-to-back victories over Henderson and Sonnen. Although he lost in convincing fashion to Jones in their first bout, with another win against a quality opponent he should be rewarded with a second chance.
In the end, there is never a guaranteed title shot when it comes to the UFC. Promises are regularly broken. There is still a chance that a more deserving fighter will get the next title shot no matter who wins the Henderson-Cormier fight.