dan-henderson-21.jpg(This story appeared in today’s edition of USA TODAY.)

WINNIPEG – The end has to come sometime.

Most athletes try to hold on as long as they can to avoid the inevitable. Rashad Evans and Dan Henderson might not be thinking retirement, but a loss for either at UFC 161 could mean a different end — the end of their title aspirations in the UFC.

Evans (17-3-1 MMA, 12-3-1 UFC), a former UFC light heavyweight champion, meets former PRIDE titleholder Henderson (29-9 MMA, 6-3 UFC) in a main event that on the surface has little on the line but bragging rights between two all-time greats.

But a closer look reveals a greater potential meaning behind the fight Saturday at MTS Centre in the UFC’s debut in Winnipeg (10 p.m. ET, pay-per-view).

UFC President Dana White isn’t willing to close the door on the Evans-Henderson loser getting back in the title mix one day, but he thinks it would be a tall order.

“I mean, anything’s possible. You could lose this fight and then go on an eight-fight win streak,” White told USA TODAY Sports and MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “But I would say, statistically, it’d be tough to come back from this loss (and fight for a title someday).”

Henderson had a title shot lined up in September against 205-pound champion Jon Jones, but a knee injury put him on the sidelines. A fight against former titleholder Lyoto Machida in February left him on the short end of a split decision.

Henderson, a former Olympic wrestler, turns 43 in August. A second loss in a row could be disastrous for his hope of fighting for the one title that’s eluded him: a UFC belt.

But he said he thinks he has a couple of more years left in the sport and doesn’t plan on going anywhere after fighting Evans.

“Obviously, I’d be disappointed if I don’t at least get a title shot again,” he said. “But it’s out of my control. The only thing I can control is what I do in the cage, and I need to make sure I do it and do it well on Saturday.”

Evans has had the title around his waist, and he’s challenged for it again since then. But a loss to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in February gave him the first losing streak of his career. A third consecutive setback might not send Evans looking for work elsewhere, but getting back into the title hunt might be a stretch.

That keeps Evans guarded in his responses to questions about going on another title run.

“I’m not so much looking at getting a title shot,” Evans said. “For me, I just want to enjoy it along the way, having fun with each fight. Too much gets lost at wanting to get a title shot.

“Eventually, I beat enough people and I do it impressively enough, they’re going to want me to have a title shot.”

For the latest on UFC 161, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

(Pictured: Dan Henderson)

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Avoiding Another Weight-Cut Crush, Bashir Ahmad Hopes Preparation Results in Victory at ONE: Odyssey of Champions

  • 20 days ago

Having undergone an unbelievable weight-cut for his last ONE Championship fight, Bashir Ahmad hopes proper preparation leads to victory this time. read news >>

WSOF champ Lance Palmer: The 'Party' is just getting started

  • 22 days ago

Team Alpha Male featherweight Lance Palmer owns the WSOF featherweight title and hopes his run will eventually lead him to the UFC. But for now, “Party” is sticking with the upstart organization. Fil read news >>

After Bellator 142 title loss, Tito Ortiz fields the retirement question

  • 23 days ago

Is this the end for Tito Ortiz? After a Bellator title loss, is the 40-year-old, who made his MMA debut way back in 1997, ready to call it quits?Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News read news >>

Watch today's Bellator 142 weigh-ins live on MMAjunkie at 8 p.m. ET

  • 25 days ago

Bellator 142 fighter weigh-ins take place today, and you can watch a live video stream of the proceedings on MMAjunkie at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT).Filed under: Bellator, News, Videos read news >>

Watch today's RFA 30 weigh-ins live on MMAjunkie at 8 p.m. ET

  • 26 days ago

RFA 30 weigh-ins take place today, and you can watch a live video stream of the proceedings on MMAjunkie beginning ay 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT).Filed under: AXS TV Fights, News, Videos read news >>

Watch today's WSOF 23 weigh-ins live on MMAjunkie at 7 p.m. ET

  • 26 days ago

WSOF 23 weigh-ins take place today, and you can watch a live video stream of the proceedings here on MMAjunkie at 7 p.m. ET (4 p.m. PT).Filed under: News, Videos, WSOF read news >>

USA Taekwondo and UFC Extend Partnership

  • 27 days ago

USA Taekwondo and UFC® today announced the extension of its partnership agreement to continue the active promotion and exposure of amateur taekwondo competition across the United States. read news >>

Phil Davis hopes former UFC rival Jon Jones 'gets cleaned up and back to action'

  • 27 days ago

Phil Davis has said plenty about former UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones over the years, and not much of it has been positive. But that’s not currently the case.Filed under: Bellator, News, U read news >>

UFC returns to London in 2016 with Feb. 27 event

  • 27 days ago

The UFC is returning to London in early 2016, officials today announced.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Today's Rousey-Holm, Jedrzejczyk-Letourneau UFC 193 face-offs were pretty serious

  • 27 days ago

The face-offs at today’s UFC 193 press conference in Australia weren’t exactly a super-friendly affair.Filed under: News, UFC, Videos read news >>