Why Belfort vs. Henderson does and does not make sense (but mostly doesn’t)
Vitor Belfort. Say what you will about the TRT, the weird foot fetish and the debatable value of his career achievements. As of right now, the guy is on a tear. He struck out at Michael Bisping and Luke Rockhold like a viper, with spectacular kicks to the head to finish both guys. Bisping and Rockhold were and still are thought to be potential title hopefuls. Belfort demolished them.
So who does he get next? The winner of Silva vs. Weidman 2? Another top contender in the MW or LHW division to set up another title fight? No, he gets Dan Henderson.
Hendo? Really? I’m a fan of the guy. I think he won the Machida fight and was competitive in the Evans fight, both of which he lost by split decision. But that doesn’t mean a whole lot because he lost both fights.
What a strange matchup to make. A guy on an amazing two fight win streak against a guy on a two fight losing streak.
Is anyone else having a hard time puzzling this one out?
I get the name value and the marketing standpoint, two legends of MMA, a rematch from their Pride heydays, blah blah blah.
But Belfort is fighting like a man possessed. He was doing that before the Jones fight, which he took on short notice and almost won in the first round. If you take out those two losses in the championship fights against Silva and Jones, he’s dominating. Dominating. He’s not squeaking by with closely contested split decision victories. He’s either knocking guys out, or submitting them.
Henderson, as stated, is on the losing side of back to back split decision losses. Usually a guy in that spot, especially at Hendo’s age, would take some time to get some perspective or get a guy somewhere down the ladder who he could, should and probably would beat. Instead, he gets Belfort.
This is strictly a big name fight, a fight that is supposed to make fans “ooh” and “aah”, and had Hendo finished his last two opponents in dramatic fashion, then that would be the case. But Hendo wasn’t particularly impressive in his last two outings, so it’s hard to justify this one. It will still sell of course, a fight with these two guys is not one to miss, but speaking truthfully, this fight has almost no meaning. A win for Belfort doesn’t exactly boost his stock even more, he’d just be the third guy in a row to beat Henderson, who is 42. Henderson winning would be huge for him, but it wouldn’t exactly warrant a title shot when he has already lost to two guys Jones defeated emphatically.
Vitor is in a tough spot right now. He’s running through guys in fights, but lost to the MW and LHW champions. He’s clearly elite and deserves top-shelf competition, but who else is out there to further cement his status as the #1 contender? All he can do is take a “stay-busy” fight, and folks, here it is.