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Dan Henderson Returning to Middleweight, Wants to Fight Again Before Year's End

Lyoto Machida Dan Henderson during their UFC 157 light heavyweight mixed martial arts match in Anaheim, Calif., Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013. Machida won by split decision after the third round. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press
Duane FinleyContributor IJune 24, 2014

It looks like Dan Henderson will be heading back into middleweight waters.

The MMA legend and former Olympian has found success in a variety of weight classes throughout his storied career, with several of his greatest achievements coming at 185 pounds. Yet, "Hendo" has spent the better part of the past four years competing in the light heavyweight fold, where he climbed the divisional ladder to establish himself as one of the top 205-pound fighters on the UFC roster. 

Nevertheless, it has been a rocky road as of late for the former two-divisional Pride champion, and it appears he will once again be slinging his signature "H-Bomb" as a middleweight.

On Tuesday, MMAFighting.com spoke to Henderson's muay thai coach Daniel Woirin, who announced Henderson's decision to return to the middleweight division. Woirin also expressed Henderson's interest in fighting one more time before 2014 comes to a close. 

The former Strikeforce champion's decision to drop down a weight class comes on the heels of a career rough patch that saw the Temecula native drop four of his last five showings, three of which came in consecutive fashion.

While the 43-year-old would briefly rebound by knocking out Mauricio "Shogun" Rua in the second round of their rematch back in March, Henderson found himself on the business end of a lopsided matchup with Daniel Cormier in his most recent outing at UFC 173.

Jun 15, 2013; Winnipeg, MB, Canada; Rashad Evans (left) fights Dan Henderson during their light heavyweight bout at UFC 161 at MTS Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports

Henderson has carved out his legacy by being dangerous at any moment of the fight, but he had little to offer Cormier, who manhandled the veteran for two rounds before locking in a fight-ending rear-naked choke in the final frame. The end result was arguably the most one-sided fight of Henderson's career, and it prompted him to return to competing as a middleweight.

Henderson's name recognition and elevated profile should land him in the elite level of the 185-pound mix, but nothing is guaranteed in that regard.

While he once challenged for the divisional title back in 2008, the upper tier of the middleweight division has changed drastically in recent years, and it will be interesting to see who the UFC will match him up with in his return.

While the majority of Henderson's greatest accomplishments at 185 pounds came under the Pride banner, the Californian has found success as a middleweight under the UFC banner as well. Although he was submitted by Anderson Silva in their title tilt at UFC 82 back in 2008, Henderson went on to claim victory in his next three outings over top-notch competition.

The most prominent of those wins came at the expense of Michael Bisping, as he leveled "The Count" with a brutal right hand in the second round of their bout at UFC 100.

 

Duane Finley is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. All quotes are obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise. 

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