The Uncrowned King | Dan Henderson | 2009 to 2014

In the first part I published on Hendo, I covered all of his ranked wins while fighting in PRIDE. That included adding both welterweight and middleweight championship belts to Dan’s resume. In the second part, we will talk about Hendo’s success in the UFC and Strikeforce.

Hendoace

Event: UFC 93

Opponent: Rich Franklin

Result: Win // Split Decision

Opponent's Rank: 10 (Light Heavyweight - 205 lbs)

Score: 3 points

On this night, we saw the long-anticipated bout between Dan Henderson and Rich Franklin take place. In a fast paced entertaining match up, Hendo used his wrestling advantage to take Rich down at least once in each round. With Franklin working back to his feet multiple times, he was able to land clean on Hendo many times - the left body kick being his most effective strike. Despite his efforts, Dan had some success of his own on the feet, and was able to get the split decision win.

Hendobisping

Event: UFC 100

Opponent: Michael Bisping

Opponent's Ranking: 11 (Middleweight - 185 lbs)

Result: Win // KO (punch)

Score: 2.5 points (0.5 bonus points given for moving down in weight)

UFC 100 became a legendary night for the H-Bomb hero we all know and love. During season 9 of The Ultimate Fighter opposite brash Englishman Michael Bisping, the two developed a vicious rivalry. Eager to put "The Count" to rest (pun intended), Hendo was aggressive early. In the second round Bisping started landing more frequently, although the observation of many was that he was circling towards to power side of Henderson. That proved to be his undoing, as he carefully placed his head right onto the path of Hendo's most dangerous punch. Dan knocked him out cold, and landed his signature leaping superman punch to the head of an unconscious Bisping. Mario Yamasaki stepped in to save him, and The Count would remain out for minutes. It was and still remains to be one of the most brutal knockouts in UFC history, which made Henderson glad to have "shut him up".

Hendobab

Event: Strikeforce: Henderson vs. Babalu

Opponent: Renato Sobral

Opponent's Ranking: 13 (Light Heavyweight - 205 lbs)

Result: Win // KO (punches)

Score: 2 points

Hendo faced Renato "Babalu" Sobral in a fight that would lead to a title shot for Dan. After a brief feeling out process, Hendo landed a left hook and right hand that got Babalu's attention. He shot for a takedown and there was a chaotic scramble that had Hendo spinning 360 degrees on his own leg, and ended with Henderson knocking Babalu out with some vicious ground and pound strikes.

Dan Henderson Vs Rafael Cavalcante

Event: Strikeforce: Columbus

Opponent: Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante

Opponent's Ranking: 11 (Light Heavyweight - 205 lbs)

Result: Win // TKO (punches)

Score: 2 points

In a bout that saw Henderson getting dropped by Feijao early in the first round, the fight would become largely a wrestling battle in the second frame. The two came out trading heavy in the third, with Hendo landing a beautifully violent right hand. Feijao landed face first on the canvas, and you can guess what happens next. With this win, Hendo wins a world title in a second major MMA organization.

Hendofedor

Event: Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson

Opponent: Fedor "The Last Emperor" Emelianenko

Opponent’s Ranking: 7 (Heavyweight)

Result: Win // TKO (punches)

Score: 4.5 points (0.5 bonus points given for moving up in weight)

We all know what a win over The Last Emperor does for a fighter's career and legacy. This was a short but chaotic affair. Hendo had Fedor rocked early with a left hook. After a bit of time in the clinch, Fedor dropped Henderson with a huge, bludgeoning right hand. As Fedor went in for the kill, Dan escaped to Fedor’s back and snuck in a short right uppercut for the ages, knocking him unconscious. That’s a middleweight knocking out a heavyweight.

Hendoshogun1

Event: UFC 139

Opponent: Mauricio “Shogun” Rua

Opponent’s Ranking: 2 (Light Heavyweight - 205 lbs)

Result: Win // Unanimous Decision

Score: 4.5 points

Although both of these men had their own respective runs in PRIDE, surprisingly these two never met before this matchup. This was a war for the ages. Hendo would drop Shogun in the opening frame, and do so again in the second. As Shogun survived and the fight wore on, he would display his legendary durability by putting it on Dan late in the 4th and 5th rounds, nearly stopping him multiple times. However that would prove to be inadequate, as Hendo would walk away with a well earned unanimous decision that night.

Hendoshogun2

Event: UFC Fight Night: Henderson vs. Shogun II

Opponent: Mauricio “Shogun” Rua

Opponent’s Ranking: 9 (Light Heavyweight - 205 lbs)

Result: Win // TKO (punches)

Score: 4 points

Three years later, these two absolute legends clashed again in a rematch. In yet another timeless battle, it was Shogun hurting Dan early and getting the better of him. Defending a takedown in the third round left Rua's head exposed, just enough for Hendo to deliver a sneaky right hook. Dan unleashed hell on Shogun, finishing him within seconds.

Conclusion

Total Points: 64

In closing, we can see why Dan Henderson is always talked about amongst hardcore fans as the having the best resume in MMA. Even without the UFC belt that eluded him later in his career, he was still the champion in two major organizations across two weight divisions. Including his losses, he fought a murderer's row of opponents throughout his entire career. Not only did he display great skill and power, but he also exhibited a legendary toughness and durability that has immortalized him.

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