Monday, February 11, 2013

Dan Henderson Vs Cain Velasquez??

Dan Henderson hits an unconscious
 Michael Bisping for good measure.
Dan Henderson is one of the most legendary and beloved fighters in the history of mixed martial arts.  People in Japan love him for his Pride fights.  People in America love him for his Olympic wrestling and knockout power.  Everyone loves Dan Henderson except for a few people in Britain that hate him for the KO of Michael Bisping (pictured above).  He is 42 years old and has a limited window of opportunity.  He deserves a title shot, and he needs to get it after he defeats Lyoto Machida at UFC 157.  Now I am not usually one to say "after he beats this guy then he should...."  The fight business is too dangerous and anyone can lose any given day except Anderson Silva.  However, I am going to dismiss Lyoto Machida as a serious threat to Dan Henderson for the sake of this article.

So after Dan Henderson beats Lyoto the debate will immediately begin: Will Henderson fight the winner of Jones vs. Sonnen? (Yes I am assuming Henderson will beat Machida but not assuming Jones will defeat Sonnen.)  Or Will Alexander Gustafsson get the title shot assuming he beats Gegard Mousasi?  Gegard is definitely a serious threat to beat Gustafsson so again I am not assuming he will win this fight in his own backyard in Stockholm, Sweden.  Dana White has flipped flopped and basically said that the winner of Hendo/Machida will get a title shot, yet at the same time has said Gustafsson will get the shot if he beats Shogun (which he did.)  This situation has presented an extremely complex situation in the light heavyweight division.  Gustafsson has said time and time again that he does not like to have a lot of time off, which is why he took this fight instead of waiting for Jones/Sonnen.  He has now rattled off 6 consecutive wins since his only career loss to Phil Davis.  He definitely is deserving of a title shot and is a great matchup for Jones due to his equally impressive reach.  Henderson has only lost to unbeatable Anderson Silva, Rampage Jackson in his prime, and former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Jake Shields in his last 12 fights.  Throw in his impressive list of victims like Vitor Belfor, Wanderlei Silva, Michael Bisping, Rousimar Palhares, Rich Franklin, Babalu, Feijao, Shogun, and Fedor Emelianenko.  Every one of those fighters is a world class fighter and none of them are fights to be taken lightly.  Dan Henderson is a monster.

The last fighter on the list of victims for Dan Henderson is Fedor Emelianenko.  He has since then defeated Shogun, but I listed Fedor last for a reason.  This fight featured Dan Henderson in his only official heavyweight bout against the greatest heavyweight in the history of mixed martial arts.  Fedor was coming off of back to back losses to Fabricio Werdum and Bigfoot Silva, but Dan Henderson is the only person ever to knock out the "Last Emperor" in Fedor.  Prior to his 3 fight skid, Fedor was an astonishing 34-1 with 1 no contest.  Most of these fights were against the greatest heavyweights in the sport.  He even defeated some super heavyweights in open weight fights.  Dan Henderson knocking out Fedor in the first round is absolutely an unbelievable accomplishment on an already accomplished fighter's career.

So why do I put so much emphasis on the Fedor fight?  Because of the situation with the UFC and the old age of Henderson closing his window of opportunity to win a UFC title.  The controversy between whether Gustafsson or Henderson deserves the title shot with Jones creates some serious problems.  Meanwhile, the heavyweight division features a completely different situation.  Cain Velasquez has dethroned Junior Dos Santos for the heavyweight title.  The top contender in the division is Cain's teammate Daniel Cormier.  The next guy in line was supposed to be Alistair Overeem, but his overconfidence got him knocked out in his fight to earn a title shot.  Bigfoot made a tremendous statement with his KO of Overeem, but just 3 fights ago he was mauled by Velasquez.  The rematch would definitely be a little more intriguing than the first match, however I do not think this is a fight the fans or the UFC wants just yet.  Junior Dos Santos does not deserve an immediate rematch so that leaves Cain patiently awaiting an opponent.


Dan Henderson should be the next guy to fight for the UFC Heavyweight Championship of the world.  He is deserving of a title shot, as is Alexander Gustafsson.  Erase the controversy by letting both guys fight for a UFC title.  Jones/Sonnen winner verses the Gustafsson/Mousasi winner and Henderson versus Velasquez.  Henderson has never been knocked out; all his losses were by way of decision or submission.  Cain has no submission victories and only 2 decision victories.  Arguably the best chin in the history of combat sports will be put to the biggest test yet.  Cain will have his hands full with Dan's Olympic wrestling and his unreal chin.  Dan has the power of a heavyweight, even when he fights at middleweight.  He was the Pride Welterweight and Pride Middleweight Champion of the world at the same time.  He never backs down from a challenge and I find him a surprisingly good fit in the heavyweight division despite being a little bit shorter than most heavyweights.  His win over the best heavyweight ever in Fedor gives him more credit as an elite heavyweight than Frankie Edgar and Anthony Pettis who had their first fights at featherweight being for the title.  Also, the fact that Pettis texted his way into a fight in a different weight class rather than wait for his lightweight title shot is something Dan Henderson should keep in mind.  If he does not get Jones or Sonnen, he should definitely call out Cain and the fans an Dana would probably be all for Henderson versus Velasquez.  Bottom line is that Dan Henderson deserves a title fight and Cain Velasquez needs an opponent.  This is a highly unlikely scenario, but it should be one to be considered.

Please Lyoto Machida, do not make me look stupid by beating Henderson....
And please UFC, give Hendo the title fight he very rightly deserves.

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