Dan Henderson in a No. 1 contender fight in 2014? That’s right.
As FOX Sports confirmed this week, a bout between Henderson and Daniel Cormier is in the works for UFC 175 on July 5. UFC Tonight’s Ariel Helwani reported Wednesday that both fighters have verbally agreed to the clash. And the winner will get a shot at the light heavyweight title after Alexander Gustafsson does.
Cormier (14-0) has been talked about as a potential opponent for champion Jon Jones for awhile now. He was supposed to face Rashad Evans at UFC 170 on Feb. 22 in what was likely to be a title eliminator. But Evans got hurt and Cormier fought UFC debutante Patrick Cummins instead and steamrolled him in the first round.
It was initially reported that Cormier, 35, would meet Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante on Fourth of July weekend. But now "Feijao" is being targeted for a bout with Ryan Bader at UFC 174 on June 14 in Vancouver, according to Helwani.
Cormier, a former wrestling Olympian, only made his light heavyweight debut, coming down from heavyweight, against Cummins. But with his wrestling pedigree and undefeated record, many feel like he’s one of the biggest challenges for Jones at 205 pounds.
Henderson (30-11) was supposed to fight Jones way back at UFC 151 in September 2012, but had to pull out with a knee injury. After that, he dropped three in a row to Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans and Vitor Belfort. Most recently, though, Henderson knocked out Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at UFC Fight Night in Brazil on March 23, vaulting him back into the contender discussion.
Like Cormier, the 43-year-old Henderson has wrestled in the Olympics, giving the UFC a built-in storyline for a potential bout.