UFC 139 fight card: Mauricio Rua vs Dan Henderson a classic MMA matchmaking masterpiece

SAN JOSE, CA - NOVEMBER 18: (L-R) Light Heavyweight opponents Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and Dan Henderson face off after weighing in during the UFC 139 Weigh In at the HP Pavilion on November 18, 2011 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via UFC.com).

Mixed martial arts (MMA) nostalgia is in the air ... can you smell it yet?

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) booked a classic pay-per-vew (PPV) event tonight that hearkens back to the heyday of the sport, presenting an old school fight card that features two former Pride FC superstars -- Mauricio Rua vs. Dan Henderson in the main event -- and its most menacing marquee mauler, Wanderlei Silva, in the co-featured fight of the night.

Even the opponent for the "Axe Murderer" in the co main event, Cung Le, is a well-known, marketable former champion from an entirely different promotion, Strikeforce.

It's a delicious melting pot of MMA talent. However, the main course between "Shogun" and "Hendo" is the true tasty treat.

Both fighters have competed side-by-side for more than half a decade in the same promotion; however, somehow, someway, the pair have yet to lock horns. Of course, those parallel career tracks finally crisscross tonight (Nov. 19, 2011) at UFC 139 from the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California.

No titles are at stake, even though both men have had their share of championship success.

Both men are former champions -- Rua in the UFC and Henderson in Pride FC and Strikeforce -- and both men have won grand prix tournaments. In the case of Henderson, he has several such accomplishments tucked impressively under his belt, whether it's at 185 pounds or more.

Sure, a potential number one light heavyweight contender case can be made for the winner, but Rashad Evans still lurks in the shadows. It's not a clear-cut assumption. At least not now, anyway. On the contrary, the chefs in the UFC matchmaker kitchen have cooked up a classic contest that is much more profound.

And it smells oh-so sweet.

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