Former Pride and Strikeforce champion Dan Henderson won a UFC tournament his first tour through the promotion, but has yet to hold a UFC world title outright.
Will the third time be a charm?
Could be since Hendo is returning to the Octagon at UFC 139 in San Jose, Calif., to face Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. UFC president Dana White has already said that the winner of that bout is likely the next light heavyweight contender behind current No. 1 challenger Rashad Evans.
That’s the weight class where Hendo is most comfortable, and he’d be happy to make another run at a title there after having failed to unify the Pride 205-pound belt with the UFC’s when he made his second tour of duty with the promotion.
But truth be told, light heavyweight wasn’t in the plans when he was negotiating his third run through the Octagon. Henderson was initially planning on avenging a loss to current UFC middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva upon his return.
“I prefer to fight light heavyweight. I’m not fond of cutting weight anymore. There’s only one fight that I’d probably fight at 185, and he won’t fight right now I guess. That’s Anderson,” Henderson said at Tuesday’s UFC 139 press conference in San Jose, Calif.
“That’s the fight we originally talked about.”
And it’s not a fight that Henderson appears ready to let fall by the wayside. Though he’s in an interesting situation to get it. He would likely need to be successful against Shogun for there to be enough spark to make such a fight tenable. But on the flipside, a win over Shogun also puts him in the catbird seat in the 205-pound division.
There doesn’t appear to be a definite road map laid out for how the whole scenario would have to play out.
“When he’s ready and if this thing goes right and if Dan wants to cut that weight, then we can talk about Anderson Silva,” said White.
For now, however, Hendo has a tough task on his hands in Shogun on Nov. 19 in San Jose.