The most anticipated rematch in UFC history?
SI's Jeff Wagenheim writes beautifully about Sunday's Dan Henderson vs. Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua rematch, and what it means, and what it doesn't. Wagenheim takes issue with the UFC's marketing of the fight as “The most anticipated rematch in UFC history.”
Rua came into the first fight with KOs over three former UFC champions – Forrest Griffin, Chuck Liddell, and Lytoto Machida. Hendo was coming of a KO of Fedor F@$%in' Emelianenko.
Now Hendo has not won a fight since, and after this, he will not longer be issued a Therapeutic Use Exemption for Testosterone Replacement Therapy. Shogun has gone 2-2 since, with losses to Sonnen and Gustafsson. The wins were over Brandon Vera and James Te-Huna.
Relevancy isn't everything in this game. Sometimes a fight is just a fight. It appears out of nothingness and takes us nowhere, but in the here and now it's sublime. That's the mindset that best fits this bout. If we attach to it all of the expectations built up from watching Henderson and Rua do battle back in 2011 — that is, if we treat it like “the most anticipated rematch in UFC history” — we're destined for disappointment. But if we just sit back and watch, with no rewriting of a glorious past and no expectation for a crowning future, we might just end up with another exhilarating viewing experience.
So what do you think UG – who will win and what kind of fight will it be?