With Losses Building, The Pressure Is On Dan Henderson At UFC Fight Night 68

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With a ribbon tied around last night’s (Sat., May 30, 2015) UFC Fight Night 67, which featured Carlos Condit’s vicious return stoppage of Thiago Alves from Goiania, Brazil, the focus of the mixed martial arts (MMA) world will momentarily shift to next Saturday night’s UFC Fight Night 68 from the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The event already lost its original main event when former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones was stripped of the championship, pulling Daniel Cormier from his headliner against no. 3 Ryan Bader and giving him the opportunity to become the new champion by submitting Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson in the feature bout of May 23’s UFC 187 from Las Vegas.

Now aging veteran and MMA legend Dan Henderson will headline the card opposite similarly falling Tim Boetsch in his second bout back at middleweight after he was brutally finished by Gegard Mousasi in the co-main event of UFC on FOX 14 in January. ‘Hendo’ has obviously seen better days during his illustrious fighting career, and with five losses in his last six bouts, it could be dangerously close to time for the 44-year-old ‘Dangerous’ Dan to hang ‘em up.

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That’s not to say that Henderson still isn’t one of the legends of MMA; he most certainly is. His historic run in Pride as a two-weight class champion (at the same time) will forever leave him etched in the annals of MMA history, and even though he didn’t win his ultimate goal of a UFC belt, he did take home a UFC tournament title. He also picked up the Strikeforce belt and consistently fought the best and toughest fighters regardless of what promotion he was in at the time.

Back at UFC 139 in November 2011, ‘Hendo’ won what may quite possibly be the greatest MMA bout of all-time when he edged fellow former Pride legend Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua in a grueling war from San Jose, California. Henderson earned a shot at then-champion Jones that night, but alas, it would never come to fruition.

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Henderson hurt his knee training to face Jones at September 2012’s UFC 151, and the vent was cancelled when Jones refused to fight late replacement Chael Sonnen at the event.

Unfortunately, ‘Hendo’ just hasn’t been the same since then.

His losses came by close margins at first when he dropped a split decision to Lyoto Machida at February 2013’s UFC 157 and another to Rashad Evans at UFC 161 the following June, but after Henderson’s long-used testosterone-replacement therapy (TRT) was banned in early 2014, he’s failed to enjoy the same power or effectiveness.

His only win since that fateful war with Rua was, ironically enough, another win over ‘Shogun’ in a bout he was losing at UFC Fight Night 38 from Brazil. It’s clear that his best fighting days are behind him, and there’s not much more left for him to accomplish or prove. In a division lead by young, hungry, and talented contenders like Chris Weidman, Luke Rockhold, Ronaldo Jacare’ Souza, and Yoel Romero, ‘Hendo’ will simply be outmatched in a large percentage of fights he’d be booked in.

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That may not be the case against Boetsch this coming Saturday, but if he does drop yet another bout to ‘The Barbarian,’ then it will be more than clear that it’s finally time for the honored ‘Hendo’ to hang up his gloves. It might even be time for that if he does indeed get the victory.

He’s a hard-nosed veteran who doesn’t seem like he wants to go out with a mediocre win, but do you think he should nonetheless?

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Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports