Two former champions who are still among the top light heavyweights in the world, Rich Franklin (24-3) and Dan Henderson (23-7), are slated to headline UFC 93 in a monster 205-pound showdown at The O2 in Dublin, Ireland, on January 17.
Franklin rebounded from a crushing defeat at the hands of Anderson Silva (his second) at UFC 77: "Hostile Territory" back in 2007 to pound out Travis Lutter at UFC 83: "Serra vs. St. Pierre 2" in April of this year. He then followed up that appearance with another winning performance against Matt Hamill with a third round technical knockout at UFC 88: "Breakthrough" earlier this month.
"Ace" has been perfect inside the Octagon (11-0) with the exception of his two losses to "Spider."
Henderson hasn’t had much luck against the Brazilian, either.
"Dangerous Dan" –- with his proven chin and prestigious Greco Roman wrestling pedigree –- was supposed to be the man to derail the seemingly invincible champion. And in the first round of their fight at UFC 82: "Pride of a Champion," Henderson appeared to be well on his way.
However, Silva came out in the second frame and finished Henderson with a submission (rear naked choke) -– the first time that the former Pride FC dual champion had been stopped early since 2005. He, too, rebounded from the loss at UFC 83, outpointing Brazilian jiu-jitsu phenom Rousimar Palharas on all three judges scorecards at UFC 88.
It was his first win inside the Octagon since 1998.
In any other promotion –- or if Silva was not in the UFC -– it’s likely that Franklin or Henderson would be middleweight champion. But now both fighters are competing in a heavier division. And there's no telling if either fighter will continue to fight at middleweight moving forward.
However, Henderson -- who simultaneously held both the Pride FC 205- and 183-pound titles -- would be the more likely candidate to challenge the "Spider" anytime soon.
UFC 93 will also feature another light heavyweight showdown between Mauricio "Shogun" Rua vs. Mark Coleman. It is the first-ever event for the promotion in the region, airing on pay-per-view (PPV) at 10 p.m ET.
Stay tuned for more UFC 93 fight card updates.