Dan Henderson and Vitor Belfort first fought at Pride 32 on Oct. 24, 2006 in a light heavyweight bout. Henderson defeated Belfort that night via unanimous decision. The two are now slated to meet again at UFC Fight Night 32 on Nov. 9 in Brazil.
In the seven years since their first fight, both fighters have remained relevant in the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions. They’ve both competed for titles in the two weight classes, but came up short.
Henderson (29-10) has lost his last two outings and is determined to not lose three in a row.
“They’re all must-wins in my mind. Obviously, I don’t want to lose three in a row. I feel real confident about my training and my skills, and matching up well with Vitor,” Henderson recently told Fox Sports.
Henderson’s last two opponents, Lyoto Machida and Rashad Evans, didn’t engage in the type of fight Henderson is accustomed to. There wasn’t the spirited exchanges Henderson likes, but he believes Belfort is the type of fighter that’s going to be willing to trade shots.
“I’m excited to go out there and fight somebody that’s gonna bang with me. Vitor’s been around a long time. He’s very dangerous and he’s very quick,” he said. “Seems like he’s got some kicks now, so I guess that’s different than before. I’m excited to go out and fight him.”
At 43 years old, Henderson’s fighting career is winding down, but he feels like he’s got a couple more years in the game.
“I’ve got probably five or six fights (left),” he said when asked about retirement.
Henderson was scheduled to fight for the light heavyweight title against champion Jon Jones at UFC 151, but was forced out of the bout due to a knee injury and hasn’t been able to get back to the top contender status. He’s not sure if he’ll be able to make another title run, but a win over Belfort would put him back in the title picture.
“We’ll see,” he said about another title run. “I’m a little farther away from that than I’d like to be. I had two close fights that didn’t go my way, so I need to get right back in there.”
In the rematch, Henderson plans to take the fight to Belfort.
“Make him work hard, staying in his face. Make sure he knows he’s in a fight,” he said were his keys to victory.
“I’m excited to go out there and bang with him.”