by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Just when it looked like Dan Henderson’s fight schedule was about to get very busy after he knocked out Wanderlei Silva winning the 205lb belt to go along with his 183lb Pride title, the organization was bought out by Zuffa and the Team Quest member had his world turned upside down.
Instead of defending both of his titles and becoming an automatic legend in the sport for winning belts in two separate weight classes, Henderson soon signed his Pride contract over to the UFC where he would choose what weight class he would end up at.
Much to the surprise of UFC president Dana White who assumed the champ would opt for the middleweight class, Henderson instead chose the light heavyweight division and competition that included former Pride stablemate, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
Now at UFC 75, Henderson will clash in a title versus title scenario against Rampage in a fight that will unify the belts and declare the true 205lb champion.
This isn’t the first time Henderson has stepped into the Octagon, as he competed there all the way back in 1998 when he defeated Allen Goes and Carlos Newton on the same night in the old tournament format of the organization.
The stint in the UFC was brief and “Dangerous” Dan, as he was called in his college wrestling days, found his true success when he traveled overseas and started fighting for Pride, beginning in 2000.
In his first fight he took on Chute Boxe team member and deadly striker, Wanderlei Silva, and after a three round war that went back and forth throughout, Henderson came up short and lost a decision to the Brazilian.
After that bout, Henderson would soon garner a reputation as one of the toughest fights in all of Pride as he showcased both his tremendous wrestling skill and growing stand-up that included a thunderous right hand able to put just about anybody to sleep.
The Team Quest member went on to pick up wins over fighters such as Murilo Bustamante, Kazuhiro Nakamura, Akihiro Gono and many others.
During the inaugural Pride 183lb Grand Prix that would crown the first ever champion in the weight class, Henderson was the odds on favorite.
He KO’d his way through Ryo Chonan and the aforementioned Akihiro Gono before winning a split decision over Murilo Bustamante to win the title.
Henderson did run through a tough stretch when he split a pair of bouts against top-ten ranked middleweight fighter, Kazuo Misaki that made the champion look less than stellar.
Just when everyone was starting to question Henderson’s will and ability he was rematched against Wanderlei Silva, this time for the Pride 205lb title.
Late in the third round of the championship bout, Henderson caught Silva with a big punch that floored the Chute Boxe member and the packed crowd at the Thomas & Mack center in Las Vegas saw the crowning of a new champion.
With the win, Henderson picked up his second title in Pride, becoming the first champion to hold championships in two different weight classes.
Now Henderson will try to add new hardware to place on his mantle as he faces Quinton “Rampage” Jackson for the UFC light heavyweight title.
The California based fighter also recently welcomed a new daughter to the world as his wife gave birth to their child just days before he left for the U.K.
It’s quite obvious that not much rattles or distracts Henderson when he has his eyes set on a particular goal and no one would be shocked if he racked up another monumental win by defeating Rampage at UFC 75.