On November 19 of 2011, Dan Henderson and Maurício Rua went to war at UFC 139 in San Jose, California.The pair did battle for five rounds and in a match that turned out to be not only the Fight-of-the Night, but also the Fight-of-the-Year, and by the account of many, possibly one of the greatest bouts in MMA history.
Over and through the first three rounds Henderson got the better Rua and on a couple of occasions, particularly in the third, looked as if he was going to stop “Shogun.” However, the Brazilian fighter would rally in the fourth and fifth, and repay the favor to Henderson, but fall short of the mark in doing so. When the dust was settled on their match it was “Hendo’s” hand that was raised, having carried the day by way of unanimous decision.
This coming weekend the pair will encore in Natal, Brazil, and in an effort to see if they can once again capture lightning in a bottle. More to the point, the dyad will be looking to breathe fresh life into their respective careers.
The UFC Fight Night 39 event stands as an opportunity for Henderson to stop a three fight losing streak, cull his first win since 2011 and his defeat of Rua, and perhaps more importantly, demonstrate that at age 43 and now off his TRT treatments, that he can still cut it in the senior circuit.
For Rua the scenario isn’t as drastic, but nonetheless, he could use the win. At age 32 Rua has more time left on the clock than does Henderson, but still, it’s ticking. As such, and if Rua is to ever work his way back into title contention in the light-heavyweight division, there is some urgency for “Shogun” regarding a win.
As to whether or not the dyad can reproduce their UFC 139 performances it’s anyone’s guess. In particular, it’s an even bigger guess regarding Henderson. At age 43 and of only recently off the TRT, it will be interesting to see how “Hendo’s” body reacts to the challenge.