Though Dan Henderson and Mauricio Rua put on what is probably the best MMA fight we'll see this year and one of the better fights of all time in the history of the sport on Saturday for UFC 139: Shogun vs. Henderson, it did further some major concerns about Henderson, who hopes to be competing for UFC gold sometime very soon. But first, a little bit of backstory on Henderson and where he stands.
Henderson has always been a guy who could fight at multiple weights ... he made his money at middleweight, but held the Strikeforce light heavyweight championship, and beat Fedor Emelianenko at heavyweight. Recently, UFC president Dana White has talked about Henderson and where he stands - noting that Henderson could be fighting for UFC gold at either light heavyweight or middleweight. The current light heavyweight champion, Jon Jones, is an enigma, and he's fighting Lyoto Machida at UFC 140. It seems like Henderson would be the underdog in both of these fights, but they're definitely attractive matchups.
At middleweight, Anderson Silva holds the title and will defend it next against Chael Sonnen in a rematch. Again, Henderson at this point would be an interesting matchup, despite having lost to Silva in the past. "Hendo" was actually nearing another fight with Silva before leaving the UFC due to contract disputes.
The problem, though, is the fact that Henderson just might not be a great fit at middleweight anymore. At light heavyweight, he gassed big time against Shogun by the middle of the third round. In round four, he was breathing heavily and in the fifth and final round, he only had enough gas to survive, and it almost cost him the win. Had the judges scored that final round a 10-8 for Shogun, we'd be looking at a draw and one less immediate contender for the title.
He's 41 years old, and his gas tank looked even worse the last time he fought at 185. It's really up in the air as to whether or not he can continue fighting at a high level with that weight cut, something that a guy like Silva would certainly be able to take advantage of. It's a shark tank at 205 right now, but it might be best to just suck it up and give Henderson a title shot while the getting is good. He was just part of one of the better fights this year, he really should be in nothing but big fights.
Let's just hope those big fights are where he's at his best, which is probably at light heavyweight, right now.