UFC 173

Daniel Cormier vs. Dan Henderson: Fights for Henderson to Take at Middleweight

Kyle SymesCorrespondent IIIMay 25, 2014

Daniel Cormier vs. Dan Henderson: Fights for Henderson to Take at Middleweight

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    Dan Henderson's UFC 173 fight looked exactly like what it really was; a middleweight fighting a heavyweight.

    The only problem was that it was being contested at light heavyweight, a weight class where Henderson shouldn't be fighting.

    It'd be one thing to be competitive in his fights, but two ugly decision losses to Lyoto Machida and Rashad Evans combined with a disastrous night against Vitor Belfort have left some nasty stains on Henderson's recent UFC run.

    Even in his win against Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, Henderson was getting thrashed until he landed a Hail Mary punch to drop the Brazilian.

    Henderson's gripes about weight cutting are well known, but he has seemingly been more open to a return to the middleweight division. After losses in four of his last five fights (that one win easily could've been a loss), there's no time like the present for "Hendo" to drop back down to the weight division where he should be competing.

Tim Boetsch

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    Tim Boetsch finds himself in a very similar situation as Dan Henderson.

    Boetsch has lost three out of his last four, and his win over C.B. Dollaway could've (and should've) been given to "The Doberman" instead of Boetsch.

    He's also becoming a limited fighter in terms of ability inside the cage. He has the punching power combined with sheer brute strength, but Boetsch's talents don't seem to gel together like the pieces of a puzzle.

    Boetsch is a struggling fighter but also is still ranked inside the top 15 of the UFC middleweight division. That would give the UFC the option of giving fan favorite Henderson an easy match-up to go along with a pair of ranked fighters.

    Boetsch vs. Henderson could easily become a headliner or co-main event of a UFC on Fox Sports 1 card.

Michael Bisping

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    By now, everyone knows what happened the last time Michael Bisping and Dan Henderson faced one another. And no, this isn't just wishful thinking for Henderson to land another H-Bomb to Bisping.

    The fight makes sense in many ways, despite Bisping's current top 10 ranking. The Englishman is set to face Cung Le later this year. It will mark back-to-back defeats for "The Count" if Bisping loses.

    He'd almost certainly fall out of the top 10 which would make things reasonable that Henderson could be paired up with him.

    Even if Henderson is well past his prime, you're telling me Bisping wouldn't like the chance to erase the memory of that highlight reel KO?

    It also makes sense for Henderson. Facing Bisping will give him a fight against a guy who doesn't have serious KO power. Just like their first meeting, it's a very winnable fight for Henderson, but how far has he declined since their UFC 100 clash?

    And then there's also the marketing ability of Bisping going against Henderson's status as an all-time fan favorite to help generate buzz.

Cung Le

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    Like the previous slide, this fight is all predicated on who loses between Michael Bisping and Cung Le in August.

    If it's Le, a potential fight with Dan Henderson makes almost too much sense to pass up.

    Both guys are on the down-slope of their careers. Both guys have struggled when facing upper-tier talent. And both guys have impressive fan-followings.

    A Le vs. Henderson matchup would be about as close to a "senior circuit" type of fight that the UFC could get. Nobody wants to see their favorite old-guard fighters thrown to the young and hungry wolves. So why not pair up two fighters who still have a shred of name value to sell?

    In terms of the matchup, it would be interesting to see how Henderson would deal with the varied attack of Le. Fans like to look at Le's impressive array of kicks, but don't sleep on those beautiful Sanshou takedowns either.

Loser of Mark Munoz vs. Gegard Mousasi

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    Mark Munoz and Gegard Mousasi will be doing battle for the right to remain relevant in the UFC's middleweight division. The loser could very well see themselves fall out of the top 15 and could find Dan Henderson as a potential opponent.

    If Munoz were to lose, it would be his third loss in his past four fights and back-to-back losses.

    Munoz is the type of fighter that when he's on, he looks like the best middleweight on the planet. The only problem is that if things aren't going his way early it tends to be a very long night for "The Filipino Wrecking Machine."

    If Mousasi is the one who doesn't find his hand raised, it would also be back-to-back losses for the former Dream and Strikeforce champ.

    Mousasi has more options in his attack, but we've also seen him falter against strong wrestlers—something Henderson would be wise to implement into his strategy.

    But considering the "Henderson will/should use his wrestling" ship has set sail for quite some time, let's look at how Hendo matches up with either man in the stand-up game. Munoz has more punching power than Mousasi, but Mousasi is by far the more technical striker. Although Henderson is credited with having an iron chin, Munoz has the power to crack the iron.

    Munoz, on paper, is a better matchup for Henderson. He's more likely to get in a firefight with the aging star, and Munoz's wrestling game hasn't translated very well to his MMA game.

    Both guys are winnable fights for Henderson.

    It's just a question of if he'd rather face the more straightforward fighter who has KO power and strength, or fight the more technical, varied fighter in Mousasi?

Loser of James Te Huna vs. Nate Marquardt

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    James Te Huna will be making his middleweight debut while Nate Marquardt will return to the 185-pound division as both men are set to collide with one another next month.

    Neither man is what you would call "relevant" in terms of the upper-level of the division—which is why pairing them up with Dan Henderson would be a good idea.

    It will be interesting to see how Te Huna fares at middleweight. His guns-a-blazing style isn't the best for one's conditioning.

    Will he still have the gas to land those thunderous KO punches? Or will we see a more varied attack that involves grappling as well?

    Fans know what they're going to get out of Marquardt when he steps into the Octagon. I would expect to see him look fresher as he won't have to go through a tough weight cut like he did while at 170 pounds. Marquardt is a true veteran of the sport and features one of the most diverse offenses in the division.

    Te Huna loves to stand and bang which is perfect for a guy like "Hendo." Meanwhile, Marquardt has the mileage that Henderson does along with name recognition with MMA fans.

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