Dan Henderson is what you call "A Household Name." Even if you are not an MMA or UFC fan, most people know that Dan Henderson is a fighter. He's one of MMA's legends and undoubtedly is a first-ballot Hall of Famer (as long as he stays in good with UFC President Dana White).
Henderson, at 45, may be approaching the end of his career, although don't tell him that. He's ready to keep going, George Foreman-style. Henderson will fight Hector Lombard Saturday night at UFC 199, in what will almost surely end in some kind of knockout. Win or lose Henderson is a legend.
At the end of the day, fight fans remember people who FOUGHT. Not the guys who tried to win. It's why Ken Shamrock and Tito Ortiz still have careers. People remember when they were younger and they fought their hearts out. It's why Kimbo Slice has a following; he tries to knock people out. And it's why Henderson, the oldest man in the UFC, can still pop PPV buys. He fights and he creates moments.
Let's look at just a few of Dan Henderson's greatest moments:
Pride 33, Henderson KO's Wanderlei Silva
You can find the fight on YouTube. It's a glorious left hand that knocked Silva cold, followed by a right hand to the chin after Silva was out. This is violence. And it's spectacular.
Henderson won the Pride middleweight championship and scared the heck out of his future opponents.
Strikeforce: Henderson vs. Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante
Henderson was hit early in the fight and almost didn't recover, but one right hand later and he whipped Feijao's head around and knocked him out flat on his STOMACH. That's how hard Henderson hits.
Maybe Feijao knew it was better to fall on his stomach rather then his back and get hammered on the jaw one last time. Ouch. Go to 3:18 of the video to watch the carnage.
Henderson vs. Fedor Emelianenko.
Henderson barely escaped with victory here. Fedor rocked him with several punches before nearly knocking Henderson out. Hendo, however, from his back, slipped to Fedor's side and hit him with an uppercut, sending Fedor crashing to the mate.
The stoppage was questionable, as Fedor seemed to regain his senses, rolling over, but still, not a lot of guys can stand up after Henderson is on top of you.
With this knockout, Henderson defeated the greatest heavyweight ever, and chipped away a bit at the Russian's legacy. Go to 3:41 to watch the fight unfold. If you are a Fedor fan, just skip this entry.
Henderson vs. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua 2
This was the rematch. And even though Henderson won this fight convincingly, the first fight was better.
In this battle Henderson also survived a flurry of punches that to came back and knocked Rua out with a right hand. He hit Rua so hard, the Brazilian flipped over and Henderson caught him again as he rolled back around. Rua grabbed Henderson's leg to avoid the punches, but he wasn't fighting back, so the referee stopped it.
Henderson vs. Michael Bisping
Remember that knockout of Wanderlei Silva? Hit repeat.
Bisping made the mistake of trying to trade punches with Henderson, who could probably knock anyone out if he landed a punch on the jaw. He certainly can knock Bisping out.
What made this knockout even more memorable is that after Bisping hit the mat, Henderson jumped on him and delivered a wicked right hand straight to Bisping's jaw, while Bisping was out of it. It just hurts to watch. Scroll to 5:44 of the video above to feel the pain.
Henderson vs. Rua 1
This fight was the kind that MMA fans dream of. There's no tactical battle. There's no Floyd Mayweather Jr. trying to win the fight on points. No one is running to protect a decision victory.
Here we have Henderson and Rua fighting with every ounce of their souls, on the ground, in the standup, blood splattered everywhere, with a referee letting the two me wage war. It won Fight of the Night. It won Fight of the Year. It was probably the greatest fight ever.
Henderson won a generous unanimous decision, but on that night both legends cemented their legacies.
(Images via MMAWeekly.com)