Listen up, purists and couch potato matchmakers: Stop your whining about who "deserves" a title shot against Michael Bisping or any other champion for that matter.
Here's who deserves the title shot: the guy who will actually sell the fight. We have learned over and over and over again that any fighter can beat another fighter, depending on the day. Just ask Miesha Tate.
So like a Henderson right hand, let's swing hard for the chin and look at why the master of the H-Bomb deserves a title shot against the man who humbled Luke Rockhold.
5. Henderson already knocked him out
It was one of the greatest UFC knockouts in history. A right hand sent Michael Bisping out cold, and then Henderson followed it up with another wicked right hand when Bisping was already out cold. The final punch was a bit unnecessary, but Henderson was in full primal mode. It's fair to say that Henderson deserves a title shot based on that one dominant performance alone. It happened in 2009. It can happen in 2016.
4. Bisping wants revenge
You don't get knocked out like that and simply forget about it. Bisping is a born fighter and he undoubtedly has wanted to avenge that loss ever since he woke up from the right hand. And every fighter deserves a chance at revenge, an opportunity to redeem themselves.
Bisping was young, skinnier, softer at the time of the first fight. Henderson was older, bigger and stronger when they first fought. But now, Henderson is 45 and Bisping is 37. It could be a different fight. And make no mistake about it, Bisping could knock Henderson out. If Bisping can knock out the 31-year-old Santa Cruz surfer, he could knock Henderson out. And how sweet would that be?
3. Bisping vs. Henderson 2 would sell
Bisping can talk smack with the best of them. Conor McGregor has nothing on him. Henderson doesn't need to talk a lot of trash because of his legendary status. Everyone knows not to mess with Henderson because he could knock out Brock Lesnar if he hit him on the jaw. But Bisping absolutely doesn't care. He'll call out Henderson for his prior use of testosterone replacement therapy. He'll question Henderson's manhood. And he will do it with a smile on his face.
By the time the two walk into the cage, the fight will be exploding with tension. If the fight happens in England, as expected, Henderson will need a bigger entourage of bodyguards than Chael Sonnen in Brazil. This would be one of the most popular fights ever. Bisping vs. Jacare? This is a business, after all.
2. Luke Rockhold deserves to wait for a rematch
Let's just say that in 2016, we don't like bullies and we shouldn't reward them. Rockhold didn't act with a lot of class leading up to his fight with Bisping, nor after he got knocked out. Rockhold never thought he would lose to Bisping and when he did he didn't know how to cope with it. So he taught anyone watching that when you lose, it's OK to make excuses and say the other person got lucky. That's not cool.
Rockhold will get a title shot at some point, but in the meantime, let him go fight Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza and earn a title shot back. Bisping and Henderson have some unsettled business.
1. Henderson has earned it
Think about this: Dan Henderson is 45 years old. And he just knocked out Hector Lombard with an elbow that would have put a horse down. He is an inspiration to anyone who appreciates fighting, sports and comeback stories.
Henderson has somewhat of a working man's persona that many people can appreciate. He consistently surprises those with his ability to fight and compete with the best fighters in the world. A Henderson title shot is not a sleight to any other contender. It's an acknowledgement of Henderson's longevity and a reward to his ability to stick around at 45 years old. Henderson deserves it.
(photo courtesy MMA Weekly).