UFC president Dana White, at Wednesday night’s UFC Fight Night 27 post-fight press conference from inside the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, officially announced the next fight for two of the company’s most popular fighters.
“Vitor Belfort and Dan Henderson, they're fighting Saturday, Nov. 9, in Brazil,” said White. “And that fight will be on Fox Sports 1, too.”
The two first collided at Pride 32 in October 2006 in Las Vegas. That night, Hendo took home a unanimous decision victory over the brawling Brazilian in the now-defunct Japanese promotion.
At the time, that loss to Henderson was Belfort’s fifth in seven fights, and it left many wondering if the once great champion had anything left in the tank.
Fast-forward half a decade and after numerous victories for both legends, it’s Henderson battling the losing streak and Belfort riding the wave of MMA momentum.
Henderson is coming off back-to-back losses to Lyoto Machida and Rashad Evans, while Belfort is coming off of stunning Knockout of the Night performances against Luke Rockhold and Michael Bisping. Both of Belfort’s finishes came via highlight reel, head-kick knockout.
Despite the differing records, this fight makes far too much sense to pass up. Both are arguably on the tail ends of their careers, Belfort is 36 and Henderson is 43. There are hardly any more experienced fighters on the roster than these two UFC stalwarts; Belfort made his promotional debut at UFC 12 in 1997, and Henderson a year later at UFC 17 in 1998.
You would be hard pressed to find two fighters with a longer history and championship lineage than these two.
Despite his last two wins coming at middleweight, if Belfort can get past Henderson in their rematch in his home country of Brazil, then title talks will surely resume for the Rio de Janeiro native. He already believes himself to be the top contender in the promotion’s middleweight division.
If Hendo can manage a “W” over the man he defeated once before, then perhaps the aging legend can extend his already historic career another year or two.
One thing remains clear, there is plenty on the line when these two meet in November. Now that the news is official, fans can salivate at the potential of these two legends meeting in the Octagon for the first time.
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