The long awaited sequel to the epic fight between Dan Henderson and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua is set for a UFC Fight Night event at the Ginasio Nelio Dias arena in Natal, Brazil on March 23. Though unconfirmed by UFC officials, a plethora of reports state that the fight has been lined up after the UFC were able to strike an agreement with Henderson, despite claims that they were some way off finalising a deal.
Tatame, a reputable Brazilian MMA news source, has reported that the two legends will meet in the Octagon once again after their instant classic at UFC 139 in San Jose, California in 2011. Since the encounter, both have had mixed experiences in the Octagon – Henderson going 3-0, and Rua going 2-2 – but the manner in which the first fight went about makes it just as exciting as the first, despite the 2011 fight having title implications.
After a 63-second knockout victory over James Te Huna, Rua has made himself relevant once again at 205 and will look to avenge a loss that in many ways felt like a victory. For any readers unfamiliar of how the first fight went – and if you are, you must watch it – Henderson picked apart, rocked, dropped and did everything he could to finish Shogun in the first three rounds, before gassing and succumbing to an entourage of Rua strikes in the last two. The fight finished with a unanimous decision victory for the American, but the grit, determination and heart shown by Rua is testament to his fighting spirit.
Henderson has lost his last three in the Octagon after pulling out of a title fight with Jon Jones at UFC 151 (the only card to be cancelled by the promotion). The first two losses were controversial split decisions, but the last of the three was as decisive as they come – losing via knockout for the first time in his 40-fight career against Vitor Belfort. Losing to Machida, Evans and Belfort is nothing to be ashamed of – all three are top-10 in their respective divisions and have been top fighters for many years. However, the fact remains, Henderson needs a victory now more than ever.
March 23 – mark it in your calendars. The rematch that MMA fans around the globe have wanted finally looks set to happen.