dan-henderson-ufc-157It must be nice to have a right hand like Dan Henderson’s. It’s a Get Out of Jail Free card, a lottery ticket and a lucky rabbit foot all rolled into one. It allows you to do all the wrong things at the most inopportune times, and still you’ve got a chance to win.

It’s the kind of thing that might turn a lesser man lazy. For Henderson, the worst thing it does is keep him grinning with the same lingering, unreasonable hope. People keep trying to tell him that 43 is too old for a professional fighter. He keeps shrugging his shoulders as if, in theory, he might agree. That right hand, though. It has other thoughts on the situation.

You watch the first two rounds of Henderson’s  (30-11 MMA, 7-5 UFC) main event bout against Mauricio Rua (22-9 MMA, 6-7 UFC) at Sunday’s UFC Fight Night 38 event, and it’s hard to make the argument that he has any business winning this fight. His legs aren’t there. His wrestling is of the desperate, back-up plan variety. His leg kicks look like something he’s trying for the first time, and his footwork reminds you of a man trying in vain to pick a dry path through a muddy field.

No wonder he got dropped in the first. The fact that he remained conscious long enough to get dropped again in the second seemed like a minor miracle. Still it felt more like a stay of execution than a last-minute pardon.

Then came the third round and that right hand. What happened to “Shogun” Rua’s nose at about that time, well, I think we can all agree it was a damn shame.

What we might have a harder time agreeing on is what any of this means for Henderson, or even Rua, for that matter. With Henderson riding a three-fight losing streak coming into this fight, and Rua up and down like the Russian stock market, this rematch had taken on a just-for-the-hell-of-it vibe that was not at all unsatisfactory for a Sunday night event on cable TV.

It was a fight that promised to be fun, though likely not as fun as its predecessor. Then Henderson spent the first two rounds looking suddenly very old and the third round looking, at least in one brief flash, like his former self, and now we don’t know what to think.

Is “Hendo” back, in any meaningful sense of the word? No, not really. Without a fountain of youth and a sack of nickels to swing, there’s no good reason to think he’s got any real hope of making a run at the UFC light-heavyweight title, and that’s fine. What he can do is what he did on Sunday night in Brazil, which is show up to brawl, maybe take a few lumps on the head if necessary, then look for every opportunity to drop the H-bomb.

Surely there’s a place for that, especially in today’s UFC, which will soon be running a couple events a week plus a Saturday afternoon matinee. Henderson can pack them in on pure nostalgia value, not to mention the very real possibility that he might knock some guy’s nose into the back of his throat.

That’s what Henderson has got going for him these days: old-school toughness and knockout power, the prizefighter’s built-in mulligan. Those are also usually the last things to go for an aging fighter, which is cruel in its own way. The toughness keeps him from admitting any sort of lasting defeat, and the power gives him permanent hope that he’s only one swing away from being back on top.

A fighter like Henderson, he could go on for years this way. He has. He probably will, if given the chance.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 38, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.

* * * *

Check out John Morgan’s instant analysis on UFC Fight Night 38:

view original article >>


Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Dan Henderson: I Could Be Persuaded to Retire (UFC 199 Video)

  • 25 days ago
  • 10 views

At 45 years of age, Dan Henderson has been fielding questions about possibly retiring for several years. He now appears ready to entertain the idea. read news >>

Is UFC 199 the end of the line for Dan Henderson? (Yahoo Sports)

  • 25 days ago
  • 7 views

From Yahoo Sports: Hendo's contract is expiring and he's got plenty of options on the table. In his own words: 'This could actually be the last fight.' read news >>

Is UFC 199 the end of the line for Dan Henderson? (Yahoo Sports)

  • 25 days ago
  • 8 views

From Yahoo Sports: Hendo's contract is expiring and he's got plenty of options on the table. In his own words: 'This could actually be the last fight.' read news >>

Brock Lesnar: Latest News, Rumors and Speculation on Fighter's Potential Return

  • 23 days ago
  • 10 views

After he reignited his professional wrestling career, it looked as though Brock Lesnar's days in UFC were over, but the 38-year-old may be nearing a return to the Octagon. Continue for updates. Lesna read news >>

UFC 199 Results: Dan Henderson Knocks Out Hector Lombard in Round 2

  • 23 days ago
  • 139 views

Dan Henderson picked up an emphatic win at UFC 199, knocking out Hector Lombard in their main-card fight on Saturday night's pay-per-view in Inglewood, California. read news >>

Dan Henderson vs. Hector Lombard: Winner and Reaction from UFC 199

  • 23 days ago
  • 176 views

Dan Henderson (32-14) is known for his “H-Bomb” of a right hand, but at UFC 199 he brought out the “H-Bow” against Hector Lombard (34-6-1, 2 NC). The two veteran middleweights went toe-to-toe in one read news >>

UFC 199 Video Highlights: Dan Henderson Returns from the Brink to KO Hector Lombard

  • 23 days ago
  • 22 views

Middleweight legend Dan Henderson took on the explosive Hector Lombard on Saturday on the UFC 199: Rockhold vs. Bisping 2 main card. Check out the video highlights. read news >>

VIDEO: Dan Henderson Says UFC 199 May Have Been His Last Fight

  • 23 days ago
  • 15 views

MMA legend Dan Henderson discusses the possibility of retirement following his UFC 199 knockout win over Hector Lombard. read news >>

UFC 199 Technical Recap: How Bisping Won His Belt and Cruz Defended His Title

  • 22 days ago
  • 92 views

Saturday night's UFC 199 card looked great on paper, and it delivered in practice with a card full of action, exciting finishes and shocking upsets. In the main event, underdog Michael Bisping pulled read news >>

UFC 199 Technical Recap: How Bisping Won His Belt and Cruz Defended His Title

  • 22 days ago
  • 12 views

Saturday night's UFC 199 card looked great on paper, and it delivered in practice with a card full of action, exciting finishes and shocking upsets. In the main event, underdog Michael Bisping pulled read news >>