Will Dan Henderson Rule Strikeforce with Jake Shields's Departure?

Brandon HinchmanCorrespondent IJuly 18, 2010

HOLLYWOOD - MARCH 17:  Legendary MMA Superstar and two time Olympic Wrestler Dan Henderson attends the CBS' Strikeforce MMA Fighters Open Media Workout on March 17, 2010 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Valerie Macon/Getty Images)
Valerie Macon/Getty Images

Jake Shields, now former Strikeforce middleweight champion, recently signed on to the UFC.

Since Shields left while being being the defending champ, there's a middleweight vacancy in Strikeforce. And although Dan Henderson recently lost to Shields in a championship match, it's not unlikely that he will once again fight for the middleweight title.

As Dana White pointed out, during the promotions for the title fight between Hendo and Shields, Hendo was more advertised than the current champ, despite having never stepped foot in the Strikeforce cage.

The marketability of Hendo is strong, and knowing this, Scott Coker will likely consider putting him in another title fight, despite the presence of a huge Strikeforce middleweight division.

Who would Hendo fight?

Having won his recent fight against Tim Stout, Jason "Mayhem" Miller would be a good choice. Miller also lost to Shields, but his tenacity alone would make for a great match with Hendo.

Another good choice might be Cung Le. Le was impressive in his victory over Scott Smith, and he would no doubt provide a significant offensive challenge for Hendo.

In any case, the Strikeforce middleweight division will be an interesting one now that Shields is out of the picture. Hendo's name alone will likely carry a lot of viewers, and Shields's departure may end up being the best thing for him as well as Strikeforce.

As for the competition Shields will face in the UFC welterweight division? The opportunities are endless:  

Thiago Alves, Dan Hardy, Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck, and of course Georges St. Pierre will all make great fights.

At least now with the addition of Shields, UFC fans can have hope that the welterweight division will not be overrun with rematches, and Hendo can roam free for a bit while making Strikeforce even bigger and more established.