4 Fights for Dan Henderson to Take Next

Vince Carey@@vcareymmaContributor IFebruary 10, 2012

4 Fights for Dan Henderson to Take Next

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    While Dana White seemed to think that UFC light-heavyweight contender Dan Henderson was content to wait for a fight with the winner of the upcoming Jon Jones-Rashad Evans bout, Henderson apparently has other ideas.

    After turning down a fight with Rogerio Nogueira last month, it seemed like Henderson was ready to turn down fights until he got himself a title bout, something that ended up leading to his departure from the UFC back in 2009.

    Instead, it looks like the former Pride and Strikeforce champion has decided he would rather stay active than remain on the sidelines for the better part of the year, and there are plenty of viable opponents for him to square off against.

Shogun Rua

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    It may have been the greatest fight in UFC history the first time these two met back at UFC 139. And the fight was close enough that there is no reason to object to an immediate rematch.

    Henderson barely survived the latter rounds of his five-round battle against Rua back in November, and it would be a guaranteed exciting rematch if the two were to fight again.

    While Shogun is not exactly considered a title contender at this point in his career, a win over Henderson would vault him back into the 205lb elite, while a second consecutive win for “Hendo” would be more than enough to earn him a title shot, especially if he wins in convincing fashion.

Lyoto Machida

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    The poster boy for Karate in MMA, Lyoto Machida is a former UFC champion and would be a perfect opponent for Henderson while he continues his quest for a UFC title.

    Machida recently lost a championship bout to Jon Jones at UFC 140, but he gave Jones more problems than any fighter in recent memory (which, admittedly, isn’t saying much).

    If Henderson wants a shot at the champion, he needs to prove he can defeat the same opponents as the champion has. Consecutive wins over Shogun and Machida would do that.

    Also adding some interest to this bout is that Henderson once fought Machida’s friend and training partner, Anderson Silva, for the middleweight title, and he could somewhat avenge his loss with a win over Machida.

Rampage Jackson

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    Henderson has fought Rampage before, and it is the loss to Jackson that he may want to get back above all others.

    Henderson’s first fight when he returned to the UFC in 2007 was against Jackson, where he defended his Pride title against Jackson’s UFC belt.

    The bout was close, but Rampage ended up earning himself the unanimous-decision win, taking Henderson’s title in the process.

    For this fight to actually happen, Rampage would have to take out Ryan Bader at UFC 144 later this month. If he does that, a rematch with Henderson would make sense for both fighters and would easily be able to headline or co-main-event a future PPV card.

Cain Velasquez

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    Hendo said he wouldn’t mind taking a fight at heavyweight if the UFC had problems finding a 205-pounder for him to fight, and a matchup against Cain Velasquez would be awesome.

    Velasquez is a big guy, but he wouldn’t have a huge size advantage over Henderson like most of the giants in the division would. And after seeing Henderson smash Fedor Emelianenko in his final Strikeforce bout, there’s little doubt that he can hang with heavyweights.

    Both fighters have top notch wrestling skill, good striking and the ability to knock their opponent out cold, and this would be a must-see fight for any MMA fan.