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What’s The Point Of Booking Machida vs. Henderson II?
No. 6-ranked UFC light heavyweight Dan Henderson added another highlight reel knockout to his resume when he blasted Mauricio “Shogun” Rua with an earth-shattering right hook in the third round of their long-awaited rematch in the main event of last Sunday night’s (March 23, 2104) UFC Fight Night 38 from Natal, Brazil.
The win snapped “Hendo’s” three-fight slide and most likely set him up for a big name fight, something that he’s used to having for pretty much all of his bouts.
However, he may be looking to play leapfrog a bit too much.
Henderson took to Twitter last night to ask for a rematch with current middleweight title contender Lyoto Machida, who was originally set to face 185-pound champ Chris Weidman in the main event of May’s UFC 173. But Weidman went down with a knee injury yesterday, prompting the UFC to reschedule his bout with Machida for July’s UFC 175 card.
Enter “Hendo,” who doesn’t have much time left to fulfill his UFC championship goals.
Henderson lost a snoozer to “The Dragon” back at UFC 157 in early 2013. He believes that a rematch is in order, but in reality, what purpose does that serve for “The Dragon”?
After all, he’s already defeated “Hendo,” and has looked incredible at his new weight class of middleweight. He already has a title shot lined up, and all he has to do is wait a little over three months to get it.
Former Pride and Strikeforce champ Henderson has recently teased a move back down to middleweight, and he may have an outside shot at becoming a title contender there if he can make weight effectively and talk his way into some big fights.
But there’s just no need for Machida to take that chance.
He’s got nothing to prove there. He’s also near the pinnacle of his new division after just debuting there last October. Wins over Mark Munoz and Gegard Mousasi have propelled to a very enviable position, and with many picking him to defeat Weidman, there’s no reason to take a step backward.
Not usually known for trash talk, “Hendo” most likely has an increased sense of urgency at 43 years old. He needs big fights, and he needs them now. Another loss would mean that he’s dropped four out of five and would probably send him into irrelevancy, so “Hendo” needs to win now and make it count.
It just shouldn’t be against Machida.
Fights with light heavyweights like Ovince St. Preux, Jimi Manuwa, or the loser of April’s UFC 172 showdown between Phil Davis and Anthony Johnson are much better match-ups for “Hendo.” If he moves down to middleweight, he doesn’t deserve to face the truly elite contenders quite yet. He could face someone like Luke Rockhold if he gets by Tim Boetsch, or maybe even the winner of April’s Michael Bisping vs. Tim Kennedy affair.
Henderson kept his career alive with an impressive knockout last weekend. He still has a lot more to prove if he wants to consider himself a legitimate title contender.
Photo: Jason Silva for USA TODAY Sports