The UFC continues to give fans fights they thought might never happen, including one set for UFC 139 in November pitting former PRIDE stars Dan Henderson and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua against each other.

Henderson will be making his return to the UFC after signing with Strikeforce due to failed contract negotiations between his management and Zuffa. He was wearing the Strikeforce light heavyweight title when his contract expired and enters the organization much the same way he did when Zuffa purchased PRIDE.

“It’s a little bit ironic, I win a title somewhere and Dana (White) buys the company to get me back,” said Henderson during a pre-fight press conference earlier this week. “Strikeforce has a number of guys who are tough and I think I fought the toughest guys there and coming up I wasn’t too excited about anyone else. I guess it was a good time for the UFC to come in and swoop up Strikeforce.”

“Hendo” captured both the middleweight and welterweight titles during his time in PRIDE, while also winning a grand prix tournament. In Rua, he gets a former UFC champion and ex-PRIDE grand prix winner, as well.

“Henderson is a tough fighter and has been a standout since the PRIDE days,” Rua said. “That was a fight the fans wanted to see back then. I’m sure that it will be a crowd pleaser.”

It has been reported that the winner of Henderson-Rua, which is a five-round affair, will become the next #1 contender to Jon Jones‘ UFC light heavyweight title after the champ squares off with Rashad Evans first.


MMATraining Take: Henderson has been on quite the roll since falling to Jake Shields, winning three straight fights include a knockout over Fedor Emelianenko. But, Rua has been just as impressive, getting back on track from a loss to Jones by knocking out Forrest Griffin. Rua will have a reach advantage, but Henderson has the advantage in takedowns. Both can knock you out, as well, with one punch. This has all the makings of a “Fight of the Year” match.