Ranked No. 6 and No. 5 in the division, respectively, the winner of this bout will take a leap toward title contention in the light heavyweight division.
Henderson most recently knocked out Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs. Henderson 2, while Cormier debuted at light heavyweight in February at UFC 170, defeating Patrick Cummins via TKO in Round 1.
Before his decision to drop to 205, Cormier racked up 13 straight wins as a heavyweight, taking out notable opponents such as Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva, Josh Barnett, Frank Mir and Roy Nelson.
This Henderson vs. Cormier matchup was originally targeted for UFC 175 in July, but White's SportsCenter announcement confirms that the bout will instead take place May 24 at UFC 173, more than a month ahead of schedule.
For the 43-year-old Henderson, this news represents a questionably quick return to action.
Henderson's recent victory over Shogun occurred March 23, meaning that Hendo will step back into the UFC Octagon almost exactly two months after that battle.
This would not be unheard of if Henderson had got in and out unscathed against Shogun, but the reality is that Hendo absorbed a ton of punishment in that fight and was nearly stopped on multiple occasions.
With 41 fights on his record—many of them rock 'em, sock 'em scraps—Henderson's decision to jump back into the fire against an elite opponent like Cormier may prove costly both now and in the future.
That said, counting out Henderson is a deadly thing to do, and he undoubtedly understands his body and feels he is ready to make a run to the top.
Who are you taking in this fight? Will Hendo turn back time and throw himself back into title contention with a win, or will Cormier remain unbeaten?
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