Dan Henderson and the 10 Best Moments of His Legendary MMA Career
At Strikeforce:Columbus, Dan Henderson, the only fighter to ever hold two titles simultaneously in a major MMA organization, became a champion once again. Using his patented overhand right, Henderson dethroned Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante.
Becoming a champion is a moment that every fighter dreams of. So, for Henderson to claim a title on multiple occasions is downright amazing. In addition to his championship wins, here are the 10 greatest moments of Henderson's career.
Vs. Renato "Babalu" Sobral (December 2010)
After losing to Jake Shields in his Strikeforce debut, fans began to wonder if Dan Henderson was beginning to lose a step as he was approaching 40 years old.
Months after his 40th birthday, Henderson returned to fight Renato "Babalu" Sobral. Despite Henderson's loss in his last fight, he would be given a title shot at light heavyweight with a win over Sobral.
Henderson went on to knock Sobral out within two minutes of the opening bell. In the process, Henderson became a top contender and showed the MMA world that he was not finished quite yet.
Vs. Akihiro Gono (September 2005)
Dan Henderson met Akihiro Gono in the semifinals of the 2005 Pride Welterweight Grad Prix. Heading into the fight, Gono had won four consecutive fights and nine of his last 10, with the only loss coming against Mauricio "Shogun" Rua.
After knocking out Ryo Chonan just 22 seconds into their opening round fight, Henderson continued onto the finals with another knockout win against Gono.
Vs. Renzo Gracie (March 2001)
Coming off of a loss against Wanderlei Silva in his debut with the organization, Dan Henderson was looking for his first win in Pride when he faced Renzo Gracie. Any time a fighters competes against a Gracie, it is a big deal.
Knocking out a Gracie in under two minutes is an even bigger deal, and that is exactly what Henderson did in this fight.
Vs. Carlos Newton (May 1998)
Dan Henderson made his debut with the UFC in a middleweight tournament at UFC 17. Although a decorated amateur wrestler, Henderson was still unproven as a mixed martial artist at that point in his career.
After winning his opening round fight, Henderson met eventual UFC Welterweight Champion Carlos Newton in the finals. After a close fight, Henderson walked away with a split decision victory. By winning this middleweight tournament, Henderson marked his arrival in MMA.
Vs. Renato "Babalu" Sobral (February 2000)
Dan Henderson's fight with Renato "Babalu" Sobral in Strikeforce was not the first meeting between these two fighters. Henderson also met an undefeated Sobral in the finals of the 1999 Rings King of Kings Tournament.
In another close decision, Henderson won his second tournament in under two years. With the level of opponents included in this competition, this tournament win was far more impressive than the one Henderson had at UFC 17.
Vs. Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante (March 2011)
After recording his first win in Strikeforce over Renato "Babalu" Sobral, Dan Henderson earned a title shot against Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante. After Cavalcante rocked him in the first round, Henderson was able to recover and score a knockout victory.
The 40-year-old Henderson is once again a champion, something that didn't seem very possible after he lost to Shields in his Strikeforce debut.
Vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (February 2000)
Before facing Renato "Babalu" Sobral in the finals, Dan Henderson needed to get past Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in the semifinals of the 1999 Rings King of Kings Tournament. After two close rounds of action, an extra round was needed to determine a winner.
Henderson ended up winning in a razor-thin split decision over Nogueira. Controversial or not, a win over Nogueira on this big of a stage was one of the most memorable moments of Henderson's career.
Vs. Michael Bisping (July 2009)
After developing a rivalry as coaches on The Ultimate Fighter, Dan Henderson and Michael Bisping met at UFC 100, one of the biggest MMA events of all time. Henderson ended this fight with one of the most brutal knockouts in the history of the sport.
This fight turned out to be Henderson's last in the UFC. Even if Henderson never fights in the UFC again, his knockout of Bisping served as a fitting close to one of the final chapters of a great career.
Vs. Murilo Bustamante (December 2005)
After knocking out Akihiro Gono in the semifinals of the 2005 Pride Welterweight Grand Prix, Dan Henderson moved onto the finals, where he fought Murilo Bustamante for the Pride Welterweight Championship.
With a split decision win over Bustamante, Henderson won the first championship of his career.
Vs. Wanderlei Silva (February 2007)
In his final fight with Pride, Dan Henderson fought Wanderlei Silva for the Pride Middleweight Championship. In the third round, Henderson caught Silva with a left hook that knocked out "The Axe Murderer".
With the win, Henderson became the first fighter in a major MMA organization to hold championships in multiple divisions simultaneously, a distinction that he still holds today.
Sean Smith is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report MMA. For the latest insight and updates on everything MMA, you can follow Sean on Twitter @BR_Sean_Smith