Morning Matchmaker: Dan Henderson should not get a title contender next
Dan Henderson put together one of the best comebacks in UFC history Sunday. He was nearly finished twice by Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at UFC Fight Night in Brazil, but somehow his chin held up and he knocked Rua out in the third round with a wicked right hook to the nose.
Henderson is insanely durable, has dynamite in his right hand and is a legend of the sport. But that doesn’t mean he should be in the light heavyweight title picture. We explain below:
Anyone who thinks Henderson is in the mix for a title shot in the light heavyweight division just isn’t paying attention. His knockout of Mauricio "Shogun" Rua was awesome. No one is taking that away. But before that, Rua was pummeling him and Hendo was coming off three straight losses. At 43, Henderson isn’t a championship contender anymore unless something drastic happens.
Who’s next: Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
Nope, a contender should not be next for Henderson. Nogueira makes perfect sense. He’s another guy who will stand and trade, potentially producing a fun fight. Henderson would probably embrace the match up, too. He lost to Lil’ Nog back in 2005 in PRIDE by submission. It’s one of just three finishes Henderson has ever been on the wrong side of.
MAURICIO "SHOGUN" RUA
"Shogun" looked OK the first two rounds against Henderson. He had his fellow legend in trouble twice, but Henderson’s chin held up. Rua wasn’t as impressive as he was when he knocked out James Te Huna in December, but still has some life. He’s also only 32, despite a ton of mileage.
Who’s next: Jimi Manuwa
Want to find out if Manuwa can cut it with the top guys in the light heavyweight division? Let’s see how he does against "Shogun." Alexander Gustafsson wrecked Manuwa earlier this month. The inexperienced Brit might not be ready. A victory over Rua would be big for his résumé and his confidence. And if he can’t win? He’s simply not there yet.
Dollaway might finally be figuring things out at age 30. His wrestling ability has never been in question, but now he’s showing some power in his hands and improved striking. Many people thought he beat Tim Boetsch back in October and if he had officially, we would be talking about Dollaway on a four-fight winning streak.
Who’s next: Luke Barnatt
People are talking about Dollaway getting a step up in competition. Same thing for Barnatt, who looked very good earlier this month in knocking out Mats Nilsson. Maybe before we start talking about the top 15 at middleweight for either one of these Ultimate Fighter alums, they should fight each other.
Formiga is trying to say he didn’t headbutt Scott Jorgensen on Sunday night, but he did and it directly led to the fight’s finish, a Formiga rear naked choke submission. The head clash was inadvertent, but it happened nonetheless. If it never did, who knows what would have happened? Bad break for Jorgensen.
Who’s next: Justin Scoggins
Formiga is ranked No. 6 in the flyweight division, but it’s clear no one will be clamoring for a title shot for him any time soon. Justin "Tank" Scoggins is due for a step up in competition. Formiga, probably an inflated No. 6, presents that and also isn’t someone the 21-year-old Scoggins would be in over his head against.
At bantamweight, Jorgensen hung around the top of the division for a long time. Many people figured that would be the case when he moved down to 125, but it hasn’t happened. Jorgensen is now 0-2 at flyweight and potentially looking at a pink slip with another loss.
Who’s next: Darren Uyenoyama
Speaking of guys who have lost 0-2 at flyweight, here’s Uyenoyama. This would be a chance for someone to get back on track. It’s also a very dangerous fight, because someone could be facing a release with a loss.