Immediately after a knock win over Hector Lombard at UFC 199 in June, Dan Henderson stated that he wasn’t sure he would ever step foot in the octagon again, ESPN reports. The same night, Michael Bisping won the middleweight title and it changed his perspective. It set the stage for an epic rematch between the talented MMA fighters.
Henderson, 46, will battle Bisping for the 185-pound championship tonight at UFC 204. It is a fight that may have never happened if it weren’t for the history between the UFC fighters.
In 2009, Dan defeated Michael with a right-handed strike at UFC 100. It was one of the high points of Henderson’s career, not to mention one of Bisping’s most painful (and memorable) losses.
Henderson has stated that whether he wins or loses tonight, this will be the last UFC fight of his career, reports Independent. Currently, he is the oldest active fighter in the UFC. Dan is known for his sharp right-hand striking skills. He hits with such force that he often able to knock out his opponent with a punch followed by an inner leg kick (or vice versa).
The big question is, will Michael Bisping fall victim to Henderson’s dangerous striking ability, a repeat of the 2009 bout? Michael has improved his wrestling since the day they fought seven years ago. He mastered his ground and boxing skills by defeating Anderson Silva and Luke Rockhold.
The Michael Bisping that is going into the Octagon tonight, is not the same fighter that Dan Henderson fought in 2009. We can’t forget to mention that Bisping is nine years younger than Henderson. Whether age will become a factor in the fight, has yet to be determined.
Age and experience played a huge factor in the results of UFC 100. For Bisping, it was the biggest fight of his career. He was not used to the bright lights of the Octagon or the attention the UFC showed him. However, Henderson was used to the spotlight and was a much more experienced fighter.
When Henderson beat Lombard in June, 2016, he was dropped to the floor in the first round, but quickly recovered. When you add the age factor, it gives Bisping the clear advantage. Michael is faster and has the endurance to go the distance of five rounds.
Who would have ever imagined that 7 years after their 1st fight,— MMA History Today (@MMAHistoryToday) October 3, 2016
that Dan Henderson & Michael Bisping would be fighting for the UFC title pic.twitter.com/XLoqJ0YKmT
In the past, Henderson blasted power in small power moves, similar to a loaded gun. He will often burst into fierce punching, in a time that you would expect him to try for a takedown to the floor. Bisping’s defense will focus on the right hand, most likely. The reason is simple — they expect Dan to rely heavily on his right-handed strike, and they want to limit his movement.
As for their final battle in the Octagon, many UFC enthusiasts don’t expect it to go the distance and last five rounds. It’s hard to predict which fighter could win the bout because it could go both ways. If Henderson can catch Bisping early, he could easily take the fight. However, if they go the distance, Bisping will win the fight, and Henderson will retire with another loss under his belt.
Prediction: If Dan Henderson wins, it will likely occur in the first round. It seems much more likely that Michael Bisping will win the bout in the third or fourth round.
Whether Dan Henderson wins or loses, this will be the last time that UFC fans will see him in the Octagon. It has to be an emotional fight, as he prepares to end his long MMA career.
UFC fans, who do you think will win the main event, Dan Henderson or Michael Bisping?
[Featured Image by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images]