Dan Henderson took the spoils, as he routed Mauricio Rua via unanimous decision in an epic battle at UFC 139.
Henderson’s victorious return to the Octagon in a five-round slugfest has most definitely set the cat amongst the pigeons vis-à-vis the light heavyweight division and maybe even the middleweight division
A lot was learned about the 41-year-old Henderson at UFC 139—for one, there is still a fairly good amount of gas in his tank.
His age is nothing more than a number.
Finally, “Hendo” can still hold court with the upper-echelon light heavyweights of the division.
With that in mind, what is next for the former Strikeforce standout?
A rematch with Shogun wouldn’t be out of the question, given that the former gave the “H-Bomb" all he could handle for the duration of the five-round main event.
Nonetheless, if a rematch were on the cards, it would only come to fruition sometime in the first quarter of 2012.
The same quarter, the Jon Jones vs. Lyoto Machida winner will most likely be defending the title.
Needless to say, Henderson is advancing in age as regards to competing at the highest level in a sport that doesn’t take any prisoners.
Henderson sole reason for returning to the UFC fold is for one last shot at UFC glory—the sooner, the better.
If Lyoto Machida upends Jon “Bones” Jones at UFC 140, a possible matchup could be in the offing.
Though, stylistically, a fight with the “The Dragon” would pose serious problems for the MMA stalwart—it would be nigh on impossible for Hendo to take the fight to the ground or to unleash his H-Bomb on the elusive Machida.
The best he could hope for is if Machida decides to trade as he did against Shogun in their second meeting back at UFC 113.
If Machida is champ come UFC 140, Hendo will be left with no choice but to engage with him.
That’s, of course, if he still wants the chance of wearing gold around his waist.
Jon Jones would be a far more dangerous opponent than anyone Hendo has come up against in his storied career.
Again, UFC gold beckons.
Jones, at this point in his young MMA career, is on a rampage—destroying anything and everything in his path.
Anyone Jones has deemed a threat to his progression in the UFC he has crushed with infinite disdain.
Henderson deserves a shot, and he might just it get sooner rather than later.
Though, the outcome will not be to his liking—his eventual decimation at the hands of the young phenom.
To reiterate, Henderson’s main objective is UFC gold.
If a fight with Machida or Jones, for some reason or the other, fails to culminate in a title shot, Henderson could always drop down to 185 and take on the indomitable “Spider.”
They both have a history, even though it’s one that Hendo would rather forget.
Be that as it may, Hendo exposed Anderson Silva’s shortcomings which Chael Sonnen would later expand on—his nonexistent takedown defense.
If he can wrestle Silva to the ground, there’s the likelihood he could come up trumps.
Save for Shogun, this is a fight that Hendo could actually win.
Could being the operative word on both occasions—Silva isn’t the longest-reigning UFC champ for no reason.