Dan Henderson may be one of the most dominant fighters at middleweight and light heavyweight, but since he won't generate as much money for the UFC as Rashad Evans-Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen-Anderson Silva II will, he is going to have to wait and see who emerges victorious.
Henderson already had one match with Silva and did well in the first round before getting choked out in the second. A rematch with Silva doesn't look promising, but it may be the safer fight to take.
Even though he already lost to the middleweight champion, Silva is older and the devil Henderson knows. If Henderson were to face Jon Jones, there could be a different amount of outcomes, but there are two that stand out.
One is that Henderson finds a way to land a power punch and knocks Jones out, or uses his Olympic-style wrestling to take his opponent down and control him. The second is that Jones does whatever he wants to with Henderson and beats him.
There is no in-between when it comes to that match, and with Henderson now 41, it may behoove him to face the older man.
Jones is only 24, and while that youth doesn't give him the wisdom and experience that Henderson has earned over the years, it does give him the frenetic energy he needs to push the pace and keep himself going.
Silva is nearing 37, and while he still looks unbeatable, that age is going to be much easier for Henderson to cope with.
There is also a matter of size. Silva is only 6'2" with a 77" reach, while Jones is 6'4" with an 85" reach.
For the 5'11" Henderson who has a 71" reach, there is almost no way that he could get inside of Jones strikes to even try and take his opponent down.
Henderson may struggle to make middleweight, but unless he is just competing now because he enjoys it, there is very little chance of him being able to defeat Jones. The only way he could possibly take on the phenomenal fighter is if he got inside his range.
But the real x factor for Henderson is the fact that both champions have fights coming up. As mentioned earlier, Silva has the rematch with Sonnen while Jones has the fight with Rashad.
Should either man lose their bout, their opponents might make easier and more attractive options for the former Pride star.
For the focused and competitive Henderson, it may not be what he wants to hear, but if he wants to be a UFC champion, it may be what he has to do.
Matthew Hemphill writes for the MMA and professional wrestling portion of Bleacher Report. He also hosts a blog elbaexiled.blogspot.com which focuses on books, music, comic books, video games, film, and generally anything that could be related to the realms of nerdom.