The UFC will open 2009 in Dublin, Ireland, the promotion announced Tuesday.
The Jan. 17 event, which will take place at the O2 Dublin, will feature a light heavyweight main event between Dan Henderson and Rich Franklin.
“This is the fight my fans have wanted for a long time now, and they want to see me fight Rich Franklin," said Henderson in a news release. “I think this will be a great fight for Ireland. It definitely will be exciting because we both like to stand and bang, and we both have knockout power. I’m excited to go to Ireland and to take on Rich; I think he’s a tough opponent and a huge challenge, but I don’t see myself losing to him.”
Henderson had been competing at 185 pounds since returning to the UFC in September 2007, though he spent much of his career fighting heavier opponents. Franklin, a former UFC middleweight champion, returned to 205 pounds last month with a win over Mat Hammill.
“Dan Henderson has great credentials, and he is going to be one of the toughest fights of my career,” Franklin said. “That being said, I’m planning on winning the fight, and I’m looking forward to fighting in the main event and fighting in Ireland. I love the fans, and the way they react by singing and chanting makes it a unique experience for me.”
This is a great fight that many fans want to see. Obviously, this math-up needs to take place at light heavyweight thanks to Anderson Silva. If the two veterans battled at 185, the winner would most likely get a title shot. Now if Hendo won, it makes sense. He may be the only threat to the "Spider's" title. At least right now.
Unfortunately, if Franklin were to win, there's no way he can EVER battle Silva again. I think two broken noses and defeats in dominating fashion are things Rich or the UFC don't want or need. I can hear Anderson Silva responding to the idea of that fight by simply shaking his head with a very humble look on his face saying, "no, no, no, no." Silva respects Franklin tremendously and I doubt he wants to hurt Franklin again.
Also on the card will be a rematch from Pride 31 between Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and Mark Coleman.
This fight saw Mauricio “Shogun” Rua suffer only his second MMA defeat. The fight had to be stopped when Rua dislocated his elbow during a takedown by Coleman in which he landed awkwardly.
Coleman infuriated the Chute Boxe crew when he tossed the referee aside as he tried to break up the fight. Most of Shogun’s corner rushed into the ring to show their displeasure for the way the fight ended.
There may be some bad blood stemming from their previous fight that I'm sure the UFC will promote well and add even more interest to those who don't know much about the two fighters.
Rua went down with a knee injury during the Forrest Griffin fight and is finally ready to come back after a rumored bout with Chuck Liddell never came to pass.
This will probably be the fight "Shogun" show's the world who he is, for those who don't know or have forgotten.