Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua and Dan Henderson will square off in a rematch of their epic UFC 139 bout, as they get ready to throw down again at Fight Night 38. Widely viewed as one of the greatest fights of all time, the 2011 slugfest earned both fighters the coveted ‘Fight of The Year’ award.
Both men have long and storied histories in MMA, Shogun was a hero in Pride FC, as was Hendo. Both guys have experienced success in the UFC, but on a much lesser scale than their days in the Japanese promotion. Nonetheless, the rematch tonight could well be one of the greatest of all time.
Rua’s run in the UFC has been scattered with disappointing losses, although he did reach the pinnacle of his career in the U.S when he won the light-heavyweight title. After beatin Lyoto Machida in their title rematch, Shogun was sidelined with injury and returned to a TKO loss against the hungry Jon Jones.
Henderson, on the other hand, hasn’t had a sniff of title glory since switching full-time to the western promotion. Aside from two failed unification bouts against Rampage Jackson and Anderson Silva, and winning then later vacating the Strikeforce lhw title; Hendo has actually gone 4-5 in the UFC since rejoining, and has lost his last three.
Before joining from Pride, Shogun was recognized as one of the best fighters on the planet. But even though he was the champ in the UFC, Rua has been unable to put together anything more than a two fight win streak since 2007. His recent win against James Te-Huna was more like the Rua of old.
Even with their hard luck in recent outings, Shogun and Henderson occupy #6 & #7 in the official lhw rankings, respectively. There could well be a chance of another run at a title for either man with a win. Shogun may have age on his side, but Henderson is a very tough guy too and has bags of ability.
Opposing that, a loss would likely be crippling for Hendo’s chances at a title shot in the future. At aged 43, his talent and raw ability will soon play second fiddle to youth and energy. Without wanting to hate on Hendo, it also has to be considered that the aging vet will no longer be granted TRT exemptions after this fight.
Shogun is only 32, but has competed for 12 years in MMA. I’d say that he could well put together another run, even with a loss tonight, but the chances of him beating Jon Jones, Glover Teixeira or Daniel Cormier would seem very remote if he can’t get past Hendo.
So ‘Dangerous Dan’ goes up against a Shogun in Brazil, and there is more than bragging rights on the line. Hopefully with both men’s backs against the wall, they will deliver another spectacular display at Fight Night Natal. Props to Marcio Santos and Hendosergio for the highlights!