After suffering a savage head kick knockout loss to Vitor Belfort at UFC Fight Night 32 “Belfort vs. Henderson”, what’s next for Dan Henderson? This marks the third consecutive loss for Hendo, and the first stoppage loss of his 40-fight career. That begs the question; does Hendo really have anything left to pro
ve? At 43, this may very well be the end of the road for the Team Quest veteran. Henderson made history in PrideFC as the only man to hold two titles in separate weight classes (welterweight and middleweight), but was never able to secure a UFC title (Henderson won the UFC 17 tournament, but that was a separate title). Henderson gave both Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Anderson Silva solid title fights after being resigned by the UFC, but came up short in both divisions.
Recently, Dana White has been extremely critical of the old guard of fighters who refuse to retire. This was the case for Chuck Liddell, Matt Hughes and is currently being discussed with Renzo Gracie and BJ Penn. The difference between Henderson and the other fighters listed is that Henderson is still competitive despite facing the elite at light heavyweight. Henderson’s losses to Rashad Evans and Lyoto Machida were extremely close and Henderson did not show any signs of aging. Despite the dramatic nature of this loss, it’s still too early to write Hendo off.
This was the last fight on Henderson’s contract, and prior to this, he seemed enthusiastic about resigning a new contract. I say throw him in there with Little Nog or Shogun. Henderson has faced both fighters and all three seem to be slowing down at this point. Little Nog was originally scheduled to face Alexander Gustafson in London, but was forced to pull out with a lingering back injury, so that gives Hendo some time to refocus after this dramatic loss. Shogun is currently scheduled to fight James Te-Huna at UFC Fight Night 33, but a rematch between the two would be a good fit. They had an absolute classic at UFC 139 that earned them “Fight of the Night, and “2011 Fight of the Year” honors.