Mauricio “Shogun” Rua knows just how dangerous Dan Henderson is going to be when the two meet at UFC 139 on November 19.
Being a former PRIDE star alongside Henderson, Rua has followed the career of “Hendo” very closely. He also knows that a win over Henderson puts him right where he wants to ultimately be: in talks for a UFC light heavyweight title fight.
“He has heavy hands, indeed. He can punch you in such a way that leads you to a knockout. We’re two guys who go for the KO; it’ll be a good (fight) for the MMA fans,” said Rua, in a recent interview with Tatame.com. “Dan Henderson is the favorite, he defeated Fedor (Emelianenko).”
Rua (20-5) got back on the winning track with a devastating knockout victory over Forrest Griffin in a battle of former UFC 205-pound champs last month. Overall, “Shogun” is 4-2 in his last six fights, while Henderson (28-8) has won three straight and six of his last seven.
“I’m really happy to fight him. He’s a living legend of MMA,” Rua said. “It’ll be a tough bout that should have happened a long time ago.”
The fight will be a five-round, non-title fight main event, and UFC President Dana White has mentioned the winner could become the next No. 1 contender. Rua, though, doesn’t feel like waiting around for title shots and has made it known he would like to be part of the UFC card in Japan in February of next year.
“It’d be a pleasure to fight in Japan again, and country that made me a big name to the whole world,” Rua said. “It’d be an honor to fight in Japan, but I don’t think about it now. I’m focused on Henderson, but I’d really like to be a part of that card.”