Dan Henderson and Mauricio Shogun Rua Clash
In certain circumstances, sentimentality can be a bad thing. Take mixed martial arts for example. A sport where the aim is to punch and kick your opponent into unconsciousness. Unless fortunate or lucky enough to force them to submit to defeat. A sport full of hard men and even harder heads.
When you dedicate your life to fighting, you really dedicate your life. There surely cannot be another sport which delivers the highs and lows for its competitors. The very pinnacle of mono e mono competition. It truly is a sight to behold and something that sits deep within the psyche of us all. Well most of us at least!
So when a fighter finally comes to the end of that long and winding career road. It must be almost impossible to give up those of highs, say enough is enough. Admit defeat and finally fall foul to father time. Out of all the choices these athletes make in their lives, this must truly be the hardest choice of them all.
To finally admit not only to themselves but everyone else, that they are no longer the competitor they once were. You see and hear it again and again in interviews as excuses are made and reason are given for the losses and close decisions. But at the root of it all, time along with years of bruising punishment is taking it toll.
When you look back over the long and illustrious career of the Dan Henderson and Mauricio Rua. One cannot help but reminisce about the time when these were two of the most exciting and destructive MMA fighters in the world. Shogun Rua entered the sport and fought his way through a who’s who of the very best. Including Quinton Jackson, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Ricardo Arona, Kevin Randleman, Liddell, Mark Coleman and Lyoto Machida.
Finally Losing To Jon Jones
Beating all and avenging any losses along the way! Finally losing in his light heavyweight defence to the current champ and perhaps best pound for pound fighter in the world Jon Jones! Subsequently having gone on to have a checkered career winning 3 and losing 3.
It feels like Shogun has been around forever. With an illustrious 12 year professional career behind him. And with an unbelievable amount of damage taken, what and where next for Mauricio? There was a time when he had outstanding timing and speed, fantastic kicks. And an ability to cover distance rapidly and explode with very unassuming knockout power.
You just have to look through his resume to view the who’s who of opponents who were dispensed of in quick time. His time in PRIDE saw him taking on and beating fighters with far more experience and aura which he would himself go on to replicate. In reality, many fans would love to see him fight on and see how well he will do, he is only 32 after all! But is that really what’s best for this legend of the sport? How many more miles can he squeak out of that war-torn body? A question only he can answer …
Has Father Time Finally Caught up With One of the Founding Fathers?
In the post-world of testosterone replacement therapy. What next for the former multiple weight divisions World champion Dan Henderson. Henderson a former Olympian who transitioned into professional MMA competition way back in 1997, has seen and done it all.
What else is left for him to prove? There will always be new stars moving up through the ranks. Looking for a target to focus their sights on, a big name to take down. Hendo is now pushing 44 years of age, well past the point when most fighters will have retired and moved into the next phase of their lives. But he is still hanging tough, like a ravenous pit bull who just won’t let go.
Remember when the UFC stepped in after Chuck Liddell lost his last 3 fights and told him enough was enough? Chuck was 40 years old and both Dana White and the Fertitta’s felt that pushing rather than coaxing the Iceman into retirement was in his best interest. At 44 with his last 3 fights being losses will they do the same for Hendo? Only time will tell, but time maybe not something Dan Henderson has a whole lot of!
Let’s see how he gets on against Rua. We may get to see a little glimmer of the Dan Henderson of yesteryear, gifting him yet another extension to his long and illustrious career. Or we may see the more recent and predictable version as he plods around the canvas looking to land the big H bomb of which he has become so dependent. Two legends collide, but only one will walk away the true victor.
Image courtesy of espn.go.com