Is Dan Henderson the greatest fighter of all time?

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Jon Jones recently ascended to the top of some P4P ratings, for what it’s worth. But in Dan Henderson is Jon Jones facing the greatest fighter in the history of the sport? Henderson has been fighting for 15 years in an 18 year old sport, and in the eyes of many, has earned first place.

MMAJunkie’s Dany Acosta breaks down the arguments for Hendo’s place in the pantheon.

Quality of wins:

Henderson beat 10 big-show champions: Carlos Newton, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Murilo Bustamante, Kazuo Misaki, Vitor Belfort, Wanderlei Silva, Rich Franklin, Rafael Cavalcante, Fedor Emelianenko and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. Comparatively, Anderson Silva, has wins over six champions.

Quality of losses:

Of Henderson’s eight losses, only Ricardo Arona and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira have not held notable titles. Henderson also holds victories over three (Misaki, Wanderlei and Big Nog) of the opponents who defeated him.

None of the four fighters to best Anderson Silva wore a significant championship belt in his career.

The minuses:

The hang-up in calling Henderson the greatest all-time, is a March 2008 second-round rear-naked-choke defeat to Anderson Silva. Silva’s 14-0 run through the UFC is a defining streak of longevity that has always eluded Henderson. After starting his career 9-0, Henderson’s win column is almost entirely comprised of three- and four-fight win streaks, interrupted by one of eight career losses.

Henderson is 1-3 in his most recent title bouts. He fell to light-heavyweight champ “Rampage” via unanimous decision in September 2007, and tapped out to Anderson Silva six months later. He left the octagon for Strikeforce, where he was upset by middleweight champion Jake Shields.

The big plus:

Where Henderson surpasses Silva is in his divisional jumping. The significance in jumping up two weight classes to best the two greatest heavyweights of the generation Fedor Emelianenko and Big Nog) is a feat that cannot be understated.

Like Henderson, Silva has been successful in three weight classes, but with much less frequency.

The bottom line:

If Henderson stops Jones’ ferocious title run comprised of former titleholders, there may be little controversy in calling him the greatest ever.

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