Evans vs Henderson: 5 Fights for Dan Henderson to Take at Middleweight
Dan Henderson won't be competing for an UFC title at 205 pounds any time soon. Or likely any time at all.
That much is clear after Henderson lost his second consecutive bout at UFC 161. Henderson looked to land the vaunted "H-Bomb" early and often but the opportunity never came. What momentum Henderson was able to gain in the first few rounds by backing Evans up was completely erased in the final frame as Evans pushed the former Olympian against the cage and even dropped Hendo with a clean shot.
It furthered the notion that Henderson has become a pure one-trick pony at this point in his career. That one-trick is extremely dangerous but Henderson's decreasing athletic abilities have left that "H-Bomb" pretty useless.
With any title hopes effectively eroded in the light heavyweight division, Henderson will likely have to travel down to 185 pounds to seek a new avenue to a title match. Henderson has gone on the record numerous times about his desire to not cut down to 185 pounds anymore but the prospects of securing that elusive UFC title in quick fashion could be a deciding factor.
Mark Munoz's style is very similar to Dan Henderson's in that both men look to land their heavy punches but at least Munoz looks to utilize his wrestling base. They're also both in desperate need of a win.
The two men could provide a very entertaining fight that could headline a Fox Sports 1-type card. Both fighters are known for their KO power and both fighters desperately need to find their hand raised in the Octagon to save their UFC careers.
A fight with Munoz plays right into Henderson's strengths as Munoz's wrestling isn't good enough to take Henderson down. Munoz also isn't quick enough on his feet to avoid the H-Bomb for the full duration of a fight.
Tim Boetsch, who is Mark Munoz's opponent at UFC 162 would also make for a good opponent for Dan Henderson at 185 pounds.
Boetsch saw his momentum go down the drain after a devastating loss to Costa Philippou at UFC 155. Now Boetsch will look to bounce back against Munoz but, should Boetsch lose, he'd make perfect sense for Henderson in terms of ranking and fight style.
The UFC would likely want to give Henderson a fight that's very winnable in his venture back to middleweight. They probably (along with fans) would like to see Henderson face someone who won't spend 15-25 minutes of the match running away from Henderson.
Boetsch provides a solution to both of those issues.
Luke Rockhold doesn't have an opponent at the moment and is coming off a knockout loss to MMA veteran Vitor Belfort. The former Strikeforce champ finds himself in quite the predicament with many of the big names in the UFC's middleweight division either tied up in fights or unwilling to face a guy coming off a loss.
Enter Dan Henderson.
However, facing Rockhold would be a tough match up for Henderson. Rockhold is proficient in kicks, athletic, and has a decent ground game to go along with it.
Still, a Henderson-Rockhold bout would provide a good barometer at where Rockhold belongs in the UFC rankings. Is he an overrated competitor or did he simply get caught with a crazy kick against Belfort? Facing Henderson would provide answers to those questions.
What's more American than Brian Stann vs. Dan Henderson? The UFC could call it the Battle of the Patriots or some other marketing moniker.
Not only would it be a good match up for the UFC in terms of marketability, it'd also likely provide some exciting results in the Octagon.
Henderson and Stann are both noted for their KO power and their toughness. Stann, like Henderson, is also coming off two-straight losses in the Octagon. That puts both men in the same predicament in that they both need a win to salvage their UFC careers.
Stann's aggressiveness should feed right into Henderson's strength as he will look to counter with the right hand. What Stann will need to do is utilize his footwork and speed to avoid becoming another victim of the H-Bomb in a potential showdown with Henderson.
Anderson Silva facing Dan Henderson is a long shot indeed but I could still see the UFC putting this fight together if "The Spider" loses to Chris Weidman at UFC 162. In reality, Silva would likely get an immediate rematch but if he doesn't, the UFC would be smart to pair him with Henderson.
Let's not forget that Henderson enjoyed some success in the first round of their first match up at UFC 82. Of course, in typical Hendo fashion, the former Olympian forgot his wrestling roots to engage "The Spider" in a striking battle. The result was another victory for Silva as the Brazilian unified the UFC and Pride FC titles.
A rematch with Henderson gives either man a high profile bout that would likely generate some fan interest. It also would give Silva a chance to pick up a victory over a big name to stay in the title picture or vault Henderson back into the mix should he pull off a huge upset.
It'd be a win-win situation for the UFC regardless of their reasoning.