Sunday the UFC aired it’s UFC Fight Night 39 event headlined by the re-match between Murlio Rua and Dan Henderson. The first bout, back in 2011, was a five round classic that saw Henderson dominate early, only to see Rua mount a comeback that would be just short in the eyes of the judges. This time, over three rounds, Henderson would be behind on the cards when his big right hand ended the night for Rua. Rua was slightly over a 2 to 1 favorite at the books, so people who were riding Henderson as an underdog scored at (+190) or so. Does this mean that we have not seen the last of Dan Henderson in the UFC cage?
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When you talk about Henderson’s place in MMA he is in elite company. He has a chance to retire and go out on a positive note after this win, and avoid the last impression you leave being a loss. Randy Couture went out after losing to Lyoto Machida, and Chuck Liddell got KO’d 3x in a row before calling it quits. Henderson can avoid gonig out like that.
He likely will not however. A win over Rua is still a good win, and Henderson has reason to believe that he can grab a few more paychecks. Let’s face it, Henderson is well compensated, but retirement means a big drop off in earnings, and a few extra cheques would help.
Who could Henderson fight next? It isnt a far stretch that Henderson could be in line to fight Anderson Silva when Silva returns. The first match, in retrospect, was Silva at the peak of his powers, and Henderson pretty damned close to at the peak of his, and it may have been Silva’s most impressive performance.
Henderson has been slowly slipping ever since, and it should not be forgotten that he got beat fast by Belfort and spent 6 rounds trying to catch Machida and Rashad Evans and failing at it. Silva had his run come to a resounding end when his leg was broken, and it is really unclear at what level he can return. Anyone who follows the NBA knows and has head of Kobe Bryant’s colossal arrogance insisting he will return to his prior level at 36 after multiple surgeries. Well suffice it to say Silva has drunk from the same arrogance drink and is talking comeback – let him start with Dan.