Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) asked Dan Henderson and Mauricio Rua to run it back on Sunday night (March 23, 2014) to give mixed martial arts (MMA) fans a second helping of their five-round classic from UFC 139 back in 2011.
This one would only last three.
That's because "Hendo" sent "Shogun" ass over teakettle in the UFC Fight Night 38 main event (pic), which aired on FOX Sports 1 from inside a sweltering Nelio Dias Gymnasium in Natal, Brazil. The win not only put him two-up on the dazed Brazilian, but also snapped an uncharacteristic three-fight losing streak.
But considering some of the shenanigans from earlier in the evening, at least we got a clean and convincing finish.
The knee-jerk reaction is to declare Henderson as "back," but I'm not sure I saw anything in that performance that would merit a round of high fives. Prior to dropping his patented "H-bomb," the Olympian was sat on his keister a couple of times and nearly went to sleep himself, earlier in the fight.
He looked, well ... old. Probably because he is old.
Henderson is 43 years old and has over 40 professional mixed martial arts (MMA) fights. He's also about to lose his ability to compete on testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), thanks to a recent ban from the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) that has prompted a majority of sanctioning bodies to follow suit.
Simply put, the clock is ticking.
What we know about Henderson based on his victory in Brazil is that he has incredible heart and a sledgehammer for a right hand. That's hardly a revelation. But looking at his inability to evolve, something cageside commentator Brian Stann referred to as predictability, worries me in the new-look UFC.
Being able to absorb punishment is not the same as being competitive.
I think most of us would also agree that the days when guys like Randy Couture were pushing around the young bucks is over. It was fun while it lasted, but the next wave of fighters are light years ahead of their predecessors when it comes to athleticism and all-around skill.
Take a look at the top 10 of the light heavyweight division here and see for yourself.
The UFC Fight Night 38 main event was fun to watch (except for Rua fans) and was a satisfactory conclusion to the short-liver rivalry that began at UFC 139. But it was also a stark reminder that warriors like "Shogun" and "Hendo" from the glory days of PRIDE are perhaps not suited for anyone other than each other.
Which is probably why we got this rematch in the first place.
For more UFC Fight Night 38 results, including recaps, videos, highlights, reactions, and more, check out our "Shogun vs. Henderson" live story stream by clicking here.