Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone as UFC Fight Night 32 blew the roof off the Goiania Arena last Saturday night (Nov. 9, 2013) in Goiania, Brazil.
Many combatants were left licking their wounds after a wild night of fights, including Daniel Sarafian, who lost a close split decision to Cezar Ferreira (recap here). And Paulo Thiago, who was forced tap after Brandon Thatch pounded on him until he could take no more (highlights here).
But, which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover now two days removed from the show?
"Hendo" looked to make it two-for-two against Vitor Belfort as the longtime veterans locked horns for the second time with Henderson getting the best of "The Phenom" seven years ago at PRIDE 32. In the process, "Dangerous Dan" looked to secure a new contract with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) with an impressive win
No such luck.
The former PRIDE FC welterweight and middleweight champion was knocked out by Belfort in the first round after the Brazilian clipped "Hendo" with an uppercut (see it again here) that sent the 43-year old crashing to the canvas before delivering a fight-ending kick to the dome.
The loss was the first for Henderson's via knockout (KO), but more importantly, his third straight defeat under the UFC banner, putting his future inside the Octagon on life support as the heavy-handed Henderson was fighting his final fight on his current contract.
So what went wrong for him?
As hard as it may be for hardcore fans to admit, father time may have finally caught up to Henderson. Maybe all the wear and tear his body has endured during his 13-year MMA career is starting to be too much. Perhaps the grizzled veteran's career may be coming to an end.
Then again, losing to a dangerous fighter such as Vitor -- who knocked out the much younger Michael Bisping and Luke Rockhold in his previous bouts -- is nothing to hang your head low over. Furthermore, Dan's previous two losses to Lyoto Machida and Rashad Evans could have gone either way on the judges' scorecards.
Henderson's consistently fought the cream of the crop and his contributions to the sport and resume speak for themselves.
Having said that, I have no clue what's next for the former Strikeforce light heavyweight champ. Sure, UFC could keep him on board for nostalgic reasons. But what kind of message would that send if the powers that be at ZUFFA let a 43-year old fighter hang around to collect a big paycheck while they release a much younger, less expensive contender such as Yushin Okami after only one loss?
Then again, "Hendo's" and "Thunder's" career statistics are far from parallel.
UFC officials have a tough decision to make regarding Henderson's future. But if Frank Mir -- also loser of three straight -- can get another try inside the Octagon, then maybe Dana White and Co. will throw "Hendo" another bout at a much cheaper rate.
Because I honestly can't picture UFC letting go of a legend like Henderson.