Over the weekend, the UFC announced which bout would be entered into the “fight wing” of the Hall of Fame, and it’s an unforgettable battle between two legends of the sport.
Dan Henderson’s dramatic unanimous decision win over Mauricio Rua back in November 2011 wasn’t supposed to be the main event of UFC 139 — Junior dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez I was shifted to the inaugural UFC on FOX card — but if there was slight disappointment that JDS-Cain I ended in just about one minute, Hendo-Shogun I was a 25-minute thriller.
Henderson hurt Shogun in the opening round and largely dominated the former light heavyweight champion at the start. Having taken the first two rounds, Henderson landed the vaunted “H-bomb” in round 3, sending Shogun down to the canvas. Not only did Shogun survive the onslaught, he started an incredible rally over the second-half of the contest. Round 5 was so unbelievably lopsided that Henderson literally did not land a significant strike, as Shogun searched for the finish from full mount.
The official scorecards all read 48-47 in Henderson’s favor, and there’s no doubt that under modern judging criteria, a 10-8 round would’ve been awarded for Shogun’s 5th round at the very least. Following the epic encounter, Dana White praised both men and called it one of the best fights in the sport’s history. Also of note, this was just the second non-title five-round bout in the UFC, as the promotion implemented the new policy and made it permanent in 2012.
There would be a rematch in 2014, with Shogun able to knock Henderson down twice, only for Henderson to rally and stop Rua in the third-round in front of a stunned crowd in Natal, Brazil.
The UFC 2018 HOF ceremony is set for July 5th in Las Vegas, to be streamed on UFC Fight Pass. Also set for induction are longtime UFC broadcast producer Bruce Connal (who tragically passed away earlier this year), UFC co-founder Art Davie, and ex-welterweight champion Matt Serra.