History in the making: Dan Henderson flattens 'Feijao' to win Strikeforce light heavyweight title

Esther Lin/Strikeforce

"Our sense of power is more vivid when we break a man's spirit than when we win his heart." -- Eric Hoffer

Dan Henderson's Strikeforce debut didn't exactly go according to plan.

The former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight number one contender was expected to run through the rival promotion's 185-pound division, starting with an immediate title shot against Jake Shields in early 2010, as part of the "Nashville" card airing nationally on CBS.

Except he didn't.

Despite a lopsided first round that nearly spelled the end of Shields' dominant title reign, "Hendo" ran out of gas in the second stanza, drained by a difficult weight cut, and spent the better part of four rounds on his back, defending the champion's onslaught.

Turns out that loss was the best thing for his career.

That's because Henderson abandoned his post at 185 to try his luck at light heavyweight, a division he was not unfamiliar with following a successful career in PRIDE and UFC. Later that year, he would be welcomed to the 205-pound weight class by a familiar face, former UFC contender Renato Sobral.

One "H-Bomb" later and "Babalu" was looking up at the lights.

With his debut loss now in his rear-view mirror (and a roster so thin you could floss with it), Henderson was able to procure a 2011 title shot against reigning division kingpin Rafael Cavalcante in a Showtime headliner from the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.

It nearly ended in disaster.

That's because all the talk about Henderson's "H-Bomb" was able to draw attention away from the fact that "Feijao" knew a thing or two about blowing up chins himself. The Brazilian entered their championship brouhaha with nine of his 10 wins coming by way of knockout or technical knockout.

His lone submission victory came by way of punches.

It came as no surprise -- at least to the initiated -- to see Henderson take a wrong turn down queer street in the opening frame, after Cavalcante blasted him with a thunderous right. Only "Hendo's" legendary chin and wrestling instincts saved him from an early exit.

He recovered and won the second stanza on points.

Heading into the third round it was still anybody's game. That is, until Henderson uncorked a right hand and sent Cavalcante face first into the canvas. A few follow-up punches for good measure and at 40 years old, "Dangerous" Dan became the new Strikeforce champion.

In lieu of a title defense, he would move on to challenge Fedor Emelianenko just four months later.

Fast forward to June 2013 and once again, Henderson is looking to erase the memories of an uninspired performance -- as well as get himself into the 205-pound title picture -- at the expense of Rashad Evans, who would love nothing more than to steal "Hendo's" spot in line.

They'll do the deed this Saturday night (June 15, 2013) in the main event of the UFC 161 pay-per-view (PPV), scheduled for the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

For a look back at Evans's rise to power click here. For more on this weekend's UFC 161 extravaganza click here.

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