Dan Henderson is a world-class wrestler. He has the ability to take his opponent down, keep him there and claim win after win. However, that isn’t what gets “Hendo” up every morning and into the training room, as he prefers knocking people out.
When Henderson takes on former UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 139 in November, he will be going for a KO once again, according to his main coach, Gustavo Pugliese.
“I’m hoping it’s an explosive fight. Both have the ability to finish it via knockout,” said Pugliese, in a recent interview with Tatame.com. “But it’s a five round bout, so we don’t have to rush into it. We don’t wanna get into a situation where Dan is tired for not having got his coups right. So, we’ll take our time during this fight.”
Henderson is returning to the UFC after leaving for Strikeforce following a knockout victory over Michael Bisping at UFC 100. During his time with Strikeforce, Henderson claimed the light heavyweight title and earned a career-defining victory over Fedor Emelianenko.
As far as Pugliese sees it, this fight with Rua is going to be different than the one with Fedor because of “Shogun’s” skill set.
“‘Shogun’ has an efficient muay thai for MMA,” the coach said. “Against Fedor, we’re just waiting for him to come and punch him. ‘Shogun’ brings a great variety of coups on the stand up game. The only advantage is that ‘Shogun’ is lighter and for a five round bout, he can get tired faster. But the respect is the same.”
Henderson-Rua could go a long way in determining future opponents for UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones or even UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva. Henderson has expressed a desire to drop down and rematch with Silva, who defeated him in his previous UFC stint.