If you wanted to name the UFC 82 contest between middleweight champion Anderson Silva and challenger Dan Henderson, “The Blueprint” wouldn’t be out of line.
Silva entered the UFC in March 2006 and won his first five bouts via stoppage—four by knockout and one by submission. None of the contests went beyond the 2:11 mark of the second round.
At the time, "The Spider" was running roughshod over the UFC’s middleweight division, racking up multiple Fight Night bonus awards in the process. He earned four “Knockout of the Night” awards in those five fights.
At UFC 82, Silva faced Henderson, who was coming off a loss to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson at UFC 75. That fight saw Henderson fail in his attempt to unify the PRIDE middleweight and UFC light heavyweight titles. The matchup with Silva gave him an opportunity to try again—this time by unifying the PRIDE welterweight and UFC middleweight titles.
Henderson gave a valiant effort but was unsuccessful in his second attempt at unification. However, he did succeed in one aspect—he showed that Silva had at least one weakness.
Henderson took Silva to the ground and was heavy in top position while throwing short-distance strikes. "Hendo" appeared to have a blueprint for victory in Round 1, but he did not follow that plan in the second round. Instead, he elected to strike with Silva, which led to Henderson’s eventual downfall.
Chael Sonnen took Henderson's blueprint and almost rode it to an upset win at UFC 117. He used his wrestling and ground control to dominate Silva for most of five rounds, but he eventually succumbed to a last-minute submission by the Brazilian champion.
Now, Chris Weidman, Silva’s opponent at UFC 162, has a chance to improve on the performances of Henderson and Sonnen. We’ll see if he can do so when he faces Silva on July 6 in Las Vegas, Nev.
For now, here's a full fight video of Silva vs. Henderson at UFC 82.