Dan Henderson seems poised for a return to the middleweight division. Or is he?

His Muay Thai coach, Daniel Woirin, spoke to MMA Fighting on Tuesday and said the former Strikeforce and Pride champion would be returning to the 185-pound weight class. Henderson took to Twitter and denied the claim, saying it was nothing more than a rumor. While fans aren’t sure who to believe, one thing is clear: Henderson should be fighting at middleweight if he continues his MMA career.

With testosterone-replacement therapy (TRT) being banned by athletic commissions across the combat-sports world, fans were wondering how a TRT-less Henderson would perform. Well, they got their answer at UFC 173 when Daniel Cormier put a good old-fashioned whoopin’ on the MMA legend. With fighters getting bigger and faster as sports progress, Henderson is virtually a small middleweight competing at light heavyweight.

Going to the 185-pound division isn’t going to provide “Hendo” with a Fountain-of-Youth type of resurgence, but it would help him at least remain competitive in fights. He was being soundly beaten by Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in their rematch until he landed a Hail Mary punch on the exit from a clinch. Prior to the comeback win, Henderson was in the midst of a three-fight losing streak that saw him defeated by knockout for the first time in his career.

If Henderson isn’t going to retire, like some MMA fans are clamoring for him to do, a shift to middleweight should be his next move. Henderson hasn’t always enjoyed cutting down to 185 pounds, but it’s either go without the extra calories during the week or be thrown around like a ragdoll in the 205-pound division. The UFC even has a perfect opponent for Henderson to face in his middleweight return: Mark Munoz.

Both guys are on the tail end of their careers and have looked less than spectacular in recent times. Yet, despite their struggles, both men are adamant in continuing their careers. It would be a good match-up in terms of both men having similar abilities and talent levels at this point in their careers. Both men are fan-favorites and both are West Coast guys. A Henderson-Munoz fight is also an easy sell to MMA fans, as both fighters are capable of landing a one-punch knockout blow. It is a fight that makes too much sense to ignore.

There are another few options available for Henderson at middleweight as well.

There’s Tim Boetsch, a fighter who has proven to be a middle-of-the-pack type of guy and has been struggling recently. There are Michael Bisping and Cung Le, who are set to face off in a “let’s try to stay relevant” fight of their own. Bisping has a past with Henderson, and you can be sure he’d like the chance to erase the memory of the UFC 100 “H-Bomb.” Le is another big-name veteran fighter who is still competing even though his best days are behind him. There’s also “Mr. Company Man” himself, Rich Franklin. “Ace” hasn’t fought since a knockout loss to Le in 2012. He’s been vocal about getting one more UFC fight before heading off into the sunset, and a fight with Henderson would be the perfect send-off for either man.

Henderson strikes me as one of the members of the old guard who won’t go away quietly, but rather out on his shield like so many of our MMA heroes. Although fans can certainly admire that passion and desire to keep competing, they can’t help but be concerned about seeing another one of their favorites losing in devastating fashion à la Chuck Liddell or Randy Couture.

About The Author

Kyle Symes
Staff Writer

Kyle is a recent graduate of Aurora University, where he obtained a Bachelor's in Communications. Kyle resides in Illinois, just outside of Chicago. He played baseball and football in both high school and college, but is now focusing on an amateur MMA career.