UFC 173: Daniel Cormier Gets First Legitimate Light Heavyweight Test Against Dan Henderson
Ever since his decision to move down from the heavyweight ranks, Daniel Cormier has been chasing a UFC light heavyweight title fight against Jon Jones. DC gets his opportunity to secure a 205-pound title shot if he can get by dangerous veteran Dan Henderson this weekend at UFC 173 in Las Vegas.
The undefeated Cormier is a former Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix winner who recorded Octagon victories against Frank Mir and Roy Nelson before electing to test the light heavyweight waters. He did so to avoid a potential clash against close friend and current heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez. Cormier possesses a stellar wrestling pedigree and serious punching power that has allowed him to produce 14 straight wins, including nine by knockout or submission. He also holds notable victories over Josh Barnett and Antonio Silva.
Cormier was expected to get a serious test against former champion Rashad Evans at UFC 170, but a severe knee injury to “Suga” derailed that. A devastated Cormier expressed a desire to stay on the card, and ended up squashing late-injury replacement Patrick Cummins.
That fight told us absolutely nothing about how Cormier will stack up against the division’s elite. We’ll know more after his fight with “Hendo”, who also has a decorated wrestling background and tremendous punching power.
The 43-year-old Henderson snapped the first three-fight skid of his career by knocking out Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in their thrilling rematch in Brazil at Fight Night 38. Henderson showcased his legendary toughness after some difficult moments in the first two rounds before smashing “Rua’s” nose and finishing the fight in the third round after landing one of his trademark H-Bombs.
Despite his advanced age, Henderson is always just one punch away from turning the tide of a fight. He’s also determined to secure a title shot with a victory. Henderson had been scheduled to face “Bones” for the light heavyweight strap at UFC 151, but was forced to withdraw because of an injury. He believes he has some unfinished business against Jones.
There’s plenty at stake in what shapes up as a compelling co-main event. The winner is expected to be next in line after Alexander Gustafsson for the next title opportunity. It’s truly Henderson’s last shot, while Cormier will be looking to maintain his perfect record and show that he’s a legitimate force to deal with in the 205-pound division.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports
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