UFC Tonight confirmed on Wednesday that the winner of Dan Henderson vs. Daniel Cormier at UFC 175 will get a shot at the title after Glover Teixeira at UFC 172, and Alexander Gustafsson after the conclusion of that fight. This is an unusual announcement for the UFC to make after so many unfulfilled title shots in the past, including the two fighters involved. After Henderson was taken out of his fight for the title at UFC 151 due to injury and Daniel Cormier was promised a shot if he dropped down to light heavyweight, one of the two may finally get his long awaited wish.
Glover Teixeira is next for UFC champion Jon Jones at UFC 172 in Baltimore, MD and a fight with Alexander Gustafsson will be next for the winner of that bout. The UFC have therefore been unusually futuristic in their promise for the winner of the Henderson-Cormier bout. With that fight coming at UFC 175 in July and the title fight scheduled for the end of April, Gustafsson’s shot at the title could come in around October time at the very least. This leaves the winner of the Henderson vs. Cormier fight on the sidelines until 2015 after the July bout.
Another surprising element to this is the fact that Dan Henderson has only one win in his last four, halting a three fight losing streak by knocking out Shogun Rua in March. Henderson defeated Rua in their first fight in 2011, though the rematch went in the opposite direction to the classic first with Rua getting the better of the first two rounds and almost finishing his opponent. When Henderson was almost done for, he landed the key to his illustrious career – his right hook nicknamed the H-Bomb – and knocked his opponent out in the third round with that very weapon.
If Henderson gets past Cormier, it will be an impressive feat, but at 43 years old (almost 44 by the time of the Cormier bout), I struggle to see him pose much of a threat to Jon Jones, Glover Teixeira or Alexander Gustafsson for that matter. Cormier made a successful drop down to 205lbs with a win over late notice opponent Patrick Cummins at UFC 170, taking his UFC record to 3-0.
UFC 175 is headlined by a UFC middleweight title fight between champion Chris Weidman and challenger Lyoto Machida and goes down on July 5 at Mandalay Bay Events Centre in Las Vegas, NV.