A key light-heavyweight clash between Dan Henderson and Daniel Cormier will now serve as the co-main event for UFC 173 in Las Vegas. The official announcement was made by UFC President Dana White. The matchup was originally targeted for UFC 175 in July, but promotional officials elected to shift the high-profile fight to their May 24 event.
“Hendo” rejuvenated his career in a major way by knocking out Mauricio Rua in their rematch at Fight Night 38 in Brazil. The 43-year-old veteran survived some rocky moments in the first two rounds before ending the contest in the third with a brutal right hand and follow-up strikes that shattered “Shogun’s” nose.
It snapped the first three-fight losing streak of Henderson’s decorated career and has given him an opportunity to inch closer to his goal of receiving one more title shot. Henderson was to have fought current champion Jon Jones back at UFC 151 but was forced out due to a knee injury. He’s currently ranked No. 6 in the 205-pound division. Henderson has obviously slowed over time, but he still possesses a solid chin and one-punch knockout power.
Cormier is a former heavyweight contender who made the move down in weight to avoid any potential conflict with his good friend and current UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez. “DC” has been campaigning for a title opportunity against “Bones”, and if he can continue his undefeated ways against Henderson, he will be next in line after top-ranked contender Alexander Gustafsson gets his shot.
The 35-year old Cormier has a tremendous wrestling background and a solid stand-up game. While he’s 3-0 inside the Octagon this will represent his first true test in the light-heavyweight ranks. The No. 5 ranked Cormier destroyed an overmatched Patrick Cummins at UFC 170 after a scheduled bout against Rashad Evans was scuttled because of a knee injury to the former champion.
The former Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix winner owns impressive victories over Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, Josh Barnett, Frank Mir and Roy Nelson. He’s 14-0 in his career with nine finishes by knockout or submission. Cormier will enjoy the speed advantage on Henderson but will have to avoid his opponent’s dangerous H-Bomb in order to be successful.
The stakes are high for what should be an exciting battle between two talented and motivated competitors. For Henderson, this represents his last chance in the hopes of securing a title shot, while Cormier is looking to prove that he can indeed be a legitimate title threat in his new weight class.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports