Where Does Dan Henderson Fall on the List of All-Time MMA Greats?

Andrew McCluskeyCorrespondent INovember 25, 2011

Dan "Hendo" Henderson improved his MMA record to 29-8 with a unanimous decision victory over another MMA legend in Mauricio "Shogun" Rua.

Henderson battered Rua for the first three rounds, landing a few blows that would put the vast majority of fighters face down on the mat. Even though Shogun rallied in the final two rounds to make the decision close, the judges still believed that Henderson had done enough to pick up the win. 

Shogun Rua became just another marquee name on Henderson's resume. 

Henderson has been known through his entire career as a fighter who is competitive at multiple weight classes. From middleweight to heavyweight, he has managed to find success against some of the best in the world. 

So why is a fighter with such an impressive resume not mentioned in the all-time great conversation? 

The obvious point most MMA fans would jump to is the fact that he lost to another all-time great, Anderson Silva

It may not just be the fact that he lost, but the manner as well. Silva dismantled Henderson in what was probably the most lopsided defeat of his career. Considering he has only been stopped three times in his entire career, this loss certainly stands out. 

The only other fighters to stop "Hendo" were the Nogueira brothers, who each won by armbar during their years in Pride. However, Henderson does hold a split-decision win over "Big Nog" in the King of Kings Tournament held in 2000.

Let's take a look at Henderson's other losses.

  • Wanderlei Silva - Unanimous Decision
  • Ricardo Arona - Split Decision
  • Kazuo Misaki - Unanimous Decision
  • Quinton Jackson - Unanimous Decision
  • Jake Shields - Unanimous Decision

There is no one to be ashamed about on that list. He also holds victories over Misaki and Wanderlei Silva. That means of his eight losses, there are only five fighters he hasn't redeemed himself against. 

Henderson is currently on a four-fight win streak, including winning Strikeforce's light heavyweight championship and stopping Fedor Emelianenko. Now Henderson's future is up in the air. 

He has expressed interest in a shot at the UFC's light heavyweight champion, Jon "Bones" Jones. However, Jones is tied up with a fight against Lyoto Machida at UFC 140. 

UFC President Dana White has suggested that Henderson may get a rematch with Anderson Silva at middleweight, but with Silva currently injured, that plan has been scrapped as well. On top of that you have Chael Sonnen and Mark Munoz going head to head in what likely is the No. 1 contender match. 

If Jon Jones is able to run through Machida as he has with most of his opponents, it is possible that a match early next year could be in the works, though, Rashad Evans is still waiting for his chance as well.

Regardless of opponent, "Hendo" has proven that even at age 41, he is a force. His famous right hand that has created some incredible highlight reel knockouts is as deadly as ever. Just ask Michael Bisping.

Dan Henderson is going to have the chance to recapture UFC gold at some point, but his future opponents will all be fighters that would only continue to stack his glowing resume. I understand the impact of the Anderson Silva loss on his legacy, but Henderson deserves to be mentioned among the all-time greats. 

His ability to be an exciting fighter at multiple weight classes throughout the years has earned him legend status. Whether or not he gets the chance to redeem himself against Silva or to challenge the new breed in Jon Jones, Henderson's legacy is intact. 

Love him or hate him, Dan Henderson has cemented his legacy as one of the greatest fighters of all time.

Now he just deserves the recognition.