UFC 161 Results: Dan Henderson Must Regain Focus Following Tough Loss

Steven CookFeatured Columnist IVJune 16, 2013

June 15, 2013; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; light heavyweight  Dan Henderson during the fight against Rashad Evans (not pictured) during UFC 161 at the MTS Center. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports
Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

Dan "Hendo" Henderson fought valiantly in his UFC 161 performance despite losing a split decision to Rashad "Sugar" Evans, and he'll be able to bounce back from this tough loss.

In a UFC 161 fight card that proved to be exciting from the get-go, Evans vs. Henderson had some living up to do. After a slow start, both fighters started connecting blows as things went back and forth.

After Round 1, Hendo was the undoubted front-runner after landing 10 of his 30 signature strikes, compared to Evans' 5-of-24, per post-match stats from Fight Metric. Sugar was slow to come out of the gate, and Henderson's attacking prowess got him ahead early.

But as the fight wore on, the 42-year-old began to show signs of his age and deteriorated energy-wise. Though, he did put up a fight at the end, landing 64 percent of his signature strikes in Round 3.

Sugar's 39-25 advantage in strikes for the final round, however, proved to be too much for Hendo to overcome as the split decision was announced, ensuring a two-match losing streak after losing to Lyoto Machida in UFC 157. 

Now, Henderson must bounce back quick. Age isn't exactly a helpful factor, as he'll turn 43 before his next fight and is certainly in the twilight of his career. 

Despite his age, Hendo commands the best of the best in the UFC to step in the Octagon. It will take a big-time fight for Henderson to agree to anything.

People recognize the danger that Henderson poses to any opponent. Evans knows, as he nearly fell victim to it Saturday night in Winnipeg and was oh so close to doing so. Machida knows, as he also went to a split decision.

Henderson may have lost his past two fights and post a 29-10 overall record, but his skill in the Octagon far outweighs those two statistics. 

He may be turning 43, but Henderson still has some good fighting left in him and should look to make a quick rebound against a worthy opponent. If he can keep it together in Round 3 next time around, he'll be just fine performing like he did against Evans. 

The former Strikeforce fighter has found his place in the UFC, emerging as one of the most dangerous fighters in the history of the sport. Worthy opponents will be lining up to fight against Henderson, and while he may not get a major title bout, he could still go out a winner. 

But if he wants his career to go out with a bang, it'll take a massive amount of focus and determination to find the proper next opponent and pull out a victory.