He entered the UFC with the belts and unified them against first light-heavyweight (205 lbs.) champion Quinton Jackson, losing via unanimous decision, and then middleweight (185 lbs.) champion Anderson Silva, losing by submission.
Heading to Strikeforce Edit
Henderson is perhaps most remembered for his devastating knockout of Michael Bisping at the landmark UFC 100 event in what would be his last fight in the UFC before heading to Strikeforce to challenge Jake Shields for the middleweight (185 lbs.) title. Shields defeated Henderson via dominant decision in perhaps the most embarrassing loss of Henderson's career.
He was next expected to fight in the Strikeforce middleweight tournament to decide the number-one contender for the title. Instead, he next faced former Strikeforce light-heavyweight champion Renato Sobral at 205 lbs. He knocked out Sobral brutally in the first round to likely earn a title shot against Strikeforce light-heavyweight champion Rafael Cavalcante.
Henderson next faced Cavalcante, also known as 'Feijao', for the belt. He defeated Cavalcante via third-round knockout to become the Strikeforce light-heavyweight champion and silenced the doubters.
He next moved up to heavyweight for a super fight against former Pride heavyweight champion and legend -- Fedor Emelianenko. He defeated Fedor via controversial first-round TKO.
Return to the UFC Edit
Dan next returned to the UFC's light-heavyweight division in a five-round non-title fight against former UFC light-heavyweight champion and fellow Pride veteran Mauricio Rua. Henderson and Rua both emerged from the twenty-five minute war with visible facial damage. Henderson took home the controversial unanimous decision victory. Many thought it should have been a draw.
Nevertheless, fans could agree on one thing: Henderson's fight against "Shogun" Rua was one of the best in MMA history. It was certainly Fight of the Year for 2011. With the victory, Henderson very possibly earned his shot against the intimidating UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones in the spring of 2012. At this time, he also turned down a possible rematch with fellow Pride veteran Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and he was also called out by former UFC light-heavyweight champion and most recent Jones victim Lyoto Machida.
Henderson was next set to face Jon Jones at UFC 151 in September 2012. Unfortunately Henderson injured his knee before the bout was scheduled to happen. He was first going to be replaced by teammate Chael Sonnen and then he was replaced by former opponent Vitor Belfort. No one was sure what Henderson's contender status in the UFC light-heavyweight division had become.
After recovering, Henderson next signed to face former UFC light-heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida in a number-one contender matchup. Machida defeated Henderson via a controversial and relatively uneventful split decision, dashing Henderson's title hopes for the time being.
Henderson's management next stated that they wanted Henderson to fight a rematch against Pride veteran Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Other possible matchups included a fight against former UFC light-heavyweight champion Rashad Evans and a rematch against Mauricio Rua. Unfortunately Henderson was out for at least six months with a fractured right hand that apparently had happened in training before the Machida fight and had been worsened during it.
He would be out until August 2013 at the earliest and September/October at the latest. During this layout -- in March 2013 -- Henderson's next matchup was all but confirmed. The general consensus would be that he would return to fight his third consecutive former UFC light-heavyweight champion and Jon Jones victim in Rashad Evans. Henderson fought Evans losing a close and less than exciting split decision.
After a few months, Henderson was rumored to be connected to a possible rematch with former UFC light-heavyweight champion and middleweight contender Vitor Belfort. Indeed the fight was confirmed to be taking place at light-heavyweight. Belfort handed Henderson his first knockout loss via headkick and punches in the first round.
Henderson was next forced to take a serious paycut in his contract renegotiatons before signing for a rematch with Mauricio Rua. After a rough first two rounds Henderson knocked out Rua in the third round with a thunderous right hand.
Henderson was next rumored to fight undefeated former Strikeforce heavyweight champion Dan Cormier. The fight did indeed take place with Cormier dominating it completely before choking Henderson unconscious with a third round rear-naked choke submission.
Drop to Middleweight Edit
Henderson next dropped down to 185 pounds, losing quickly by technical knockout to contender and former Strikeforce light-heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi.
Henderson then fought Tim Boetsch, knocking Boetsch out in a mere twenty-eight seconds.
He then decided to sign up for a rubber match with Vitor Belfort losing via another first round headkick knockout. The third fight actually lasted only three seconds longer than the second fight.
Henderson next fought a grudge match against former Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard. After a very rocky first round Henderson scored a highlight reel second round headkick knockout.
With the victory Henderson earned a rematch against UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping. During the buildup to the fight Henderson stated that it would be his last MMA fight and that he would retire afterwards win or lose.
Henderson put on a - in a word - incredible performance in the fight, dropping Bisping twice in the first two rounds and regaining a second wind to arguably win the fifth round as well. Unfortunately Bisping was pronounced the winner via unanimous decision but Henderson absolutely did not lose that fight. He kept his promise and retired from the sport of mixed martial arts afterwards, echoing the words of Randy Couture.
"Not bad for an old man."
Not bad indeed Dan.
- Dan Henderson vs. Crezio de Souza - The fight was Henderson's MMA debut.
- Dan Henderson vs. Allan Goes - The fight was the UFC debut of Henderson, in the semifinals of the UFC 17 middleweight tournament. It was also the first loss of Allan Goes.
- Dan Henderson vs. Hiromitsu Kanehara - The fight was in the second round of the Rings King of Kings 1999 tournament.
- Dan Henderson vs. Gilbert Yvel
- Dan Henderson vs. Renato Sobral 1 - The fight was in the finals of the RINGS King of Kings 1999 tournament and both fighters came in undefeated. It was Renato Sobral's first loss.
- Wanderlei Silva vs. Dan Henderson 1 - Dan came into the fight undefeated, and thus it was his first defeat in mixed martial arts.
- Dan Henderson vs. Renzo Gracie
- Murilo Rua vs. Dan Henderson - The fight was the first loss of young prospect Murilo Rua. The fight was considered to be a controversial decision/robbery.
- Ricardo Arona vs. Dan Henderson
- Dan Henderson vs. Shungo Oyama
- Dan Henderson vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira - The fight was in the opening round of the Pride 2005 middleweight grand prix. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira went on to lose to Mauricio Rua in the quarterfinals.
- Dan Henderson vs. Murilo Bustamente 1
- Dan Henderson vs. Akihiro Gono - The fight was in the semi-finals of the Pride 2005 welterweight (185 lbs.) tournament. Henderson had defeated Ryo Chonan earlier that night, and Akihiro Gono had defeated Daniel Acacio.
- Dan Henderson vs. Kazuo Misaki 2 - The fight was in the quarterfinals of the Pride 2006 welterweight grand prix.
- Wanderlei Silva vs. Dan Henderson 2 - The fight was for the Pride middleweight (205 lbs.) championship with Wanderlei Silva defending. Dan apparently suffered a broken second metacarpal in his right hand in the fight. This was the last fight of both Henderson and Silva in Pride.
- Quinton Jackson vs. Dan Henderson - The fight was to unify the Pride middleweight (205 lbs.) belt with the UFC light-heavyweight (205 lbs.) belt, with Quinton Jackson the UFC champion and Henderson the Pride champion. The fight -- taking place in 2007 -- was also Henderson's first fight in the UFC since 1998.
- Anderson Silva vs. Dan Henderson - The fight was a unification of the Pride welterweight (185 lbs.) belt -- defended by Henderson -- and the UFC middleweight (185 lbs.) belt, defended by Silva. The fight was a back-and-forth war ending with Silva choking out a fading Henderson with a rear-naked choke as ten seconds remained in the second round.
- Rich Franklin vs. Dan Henderson - The fight was to decide the American coach for the ninth season of The Ultimate Fighter reality show. The fight-ending decision was a controversial one.
- Dan Henderson vs. Jake Shields - The fight was for the Strikeforce middleweight title with Jake Shields defending. The fight was also Henderson's Strikeforce debut. Henderson apparently came into the fight with back problems. After the fight, Jason Miller entered the ring to ask the winner, Shields, for a rematch for the title. A brawl broke out as Shields shoved Miller and Shields and his team-mates, Nick Diaz and Nate Diaz and Gilbert Melendez all ganged up on Miller before the fight was broken up by members of Henderson's corner and security.
- Dan Henderson vs. Renato Sobral 2 - The fight was to decide the Strikeforce light-heavyweight number-one contender for the title.
- Dan Henderson vs. Rafael Cavalcante - The fight was for the Strikeforce light-heavyweight title with Rafael Cavalcante defending.
- Dan Henderson vs. Fedor Emelianenko
- Dan Henderson vs. Mauricio Rua - The fight was the return to the UFC of Henderson. The fight was a five-round non-title fight. With the victory, Henderson earned a shot at the winner of the UFC light-heavyweight title fight between Jon Jones and Lyoto Machida. The fight was considered to be the Fight of the Year for 2011.
- Lyoto Machida vs. Dan Henderson
- Gegard Mousasi vs. Dan Henderson
- Dan Henderson vs. Tim Boetsch