But "Hendo" wouldn't have made the trip north had he not failed in his bid to capture the 185-pound title in both the UFC and Strikeforce, getting submitted by Anderson Silva at UFC 82 and eventually dominated in a five round decision loss to Jake Shields in April 2010.
Maybe the wrestling stalwart feels the heavier he is, the better he is, which may have been part of his motivation to accept a heavyweight fight against former PRIDE 265-pound champion Fedor Emelianenko at the upcoming Showtime-televised event on July 30 in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.
If Henderson is victorious on Saturday night, it's another feather in his cap, being one of a few select mixed martial artists to travel across three different weight classes and find success. It could also be the final nail in the coffin of "The Last Emperor's" career, who will likely be remembered for losing to a natural middleweight.
That's according to UFC President Dana White (via SI.com):
"Listen, I'm not out to hurt Fedor, or hurt any fighter. People ask me my opinions, I give you my opinion on what I think about a fighter ... I'm in the fight business, and I think that I know a little bit about the fight business. I've been in it since I was 19. And I'm going to have my opinions on fighters, just like you sports reporters or the fans, you know? Sometimes I'm right, and sometimes I'm wrong. I didn't think that Kimbo Slice could win The Ultimate Fighter. I thought the Fedor hype was ridiculous. And the people who were really as great people as he thought he was weren't getting their dues, you know ... If I've got to still give Fedor his digs, my dig would be, 'Dude, you're fighting a 185-pounder.' Henderson's got a great chin, he's durable, he's got good wrestling, he can stay out of submissions, and all the great things I can say about Henderson, but Henderson weighs 185 pounds. So I actually think this fight, as far as Fedor is concerned, it's a lose-lose for him. If he knocks out Dan Henderson, he knocks out a 185-pounder. If he gets knocked out, he just got knocked out by a 185-pounder."
After stringing together eight straight finishes and making a mockery of every heavyweight not competing under the Zuffa banner, Emelianenko (31-3) was stunned by Fabricio Werdum in his second fight as a Strikeforce employee, angrily tapping to a first round triangle choke slapped on by the Brazilian possum.
The loss was widely considered a freak occurrence, based on the Russian heavyweight's dominance throughout the years in both PRIDE and Aflliction.
That is, until he was mauled by a South American Wampa last February and made to look, well, vulnerable.
It doesn't make him any less dangerous, but does getting back into the win column at the expense of Henderson redeem him? Or do you agree with White in that either way, it's a "lose-lose" situation?