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In case you haven’t heard Dan Henderson is no longer with us. No, he didn’t die (although he did nearly kill Michael Bisping) but he has finally retired from the UFC. Although he’s been flirting with the idea for years, it all still seems too soon as he finally called it quits last saturday in his UFC 204 rematch against Michael Bisping.

But how did he get here? How did he become the people’s champ after nearly 20 years of competition and 47 sanctioned bouts? Speak softly and carry a big right hand, that’s how. The knockout artist every man has something for everyone, blue collar for the rednecks, nice guy for the general public, true martial artist for the die hards, and pure K.O. power for everyone. What’s not to like? But even K.O. power needs the right opponent to take your name from a whisper to roar. Check out Dan Hendo’s seven most pivotal fights that propelled him into super stardom.

1997 - Crezio de Souza – Brazil Open Result After competing in the Olympics as a Greco Roman wrestling, Dan Henderson though he’d try his hand at MMA. His first fight was in a Brazilian tournament called Valeo Detudo against Crezio de Sousa. He ended up knocking out Sousa at 5:25 into the bout as well as submitting Eric Smith via standing guillotine choke in the same night. Hendo: TKO

2001- Renzo Gracie – Pride 13- You don’t knockout 2001 Renzo Gracie in the first round, you just don’t. Dan Henderson however, did. He solidified his place in MMA history by becoming the first and only man to K.O. Renzo Gracie via right uppercut in the first round. It was raw power combined with perfect placement as Renzo shot for a takedown and Dan was there to meet him. Hendo:KO1

2017 – Wanderlei Silva II – Pride 33- After beating names like “Ninja” Rua and Vitor Belfort, Dan Henderson became a star in Pride, but he still had some unfinished business. After losing against Wanderlei Silva the fist time, Henderson now had a chance to avenge his lost as well as gaining the middleweight (205) belt in the process. He saw his opportunity in the 3rd round where he laid Wanderlei flat with a sweeping right hook. He became the first man in history to hold two pride belts Hendo: KO3

Michael Bisping –  2009 – UFC 100- How could we leave out the infamous punch. What led up to the obliteration of Michael Bisping’s jaw was…well, Michael Bisping’s jaw. While coaching opposite Dan Henderson, Bisping ended up flapping his gums a little too much which gave Hendo a little extra muster for the fight. What was heard round the world wasn’t the 2nd round knockout, it was the aerobatic air jordan style follow up to the already in “la la land” Bisping Putting a devastating exclamation mark to the end of the fight. Hendo:KKO2

2011 – Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson Could there be a more fitting fight to the end of Dan Henderson’s strikeforce career? I don’t think so. In the July 30th bout, Hendo tasted the onslaught that is Fedor and survived, only to dish out some raw power of his own in which he ended the fight 4:12 into round 1. RD: 1, Hendo KO

2011 – UFC Fight Night – Shogun RUA In probably one of the greatest fights in MMA history, Dan Henderson engaged in a 5 round war! The scene was set, it was Henderson’s first UFC fight back since his recent stint in strikeforce, there were a lot of questions of whether he could still cut it. Though not the 1st round K.O. we’re used to from Dan Henderson, this fight did not disappoint with back and forth action that saw Henderson getting his hand raised. Hendo: RD 5 DEC

2014 – UFC Fight Night – Shogun Rua II – While their first fight was a vicious war of attrition, this one ended with more of an exclamation point. After his pulling out of the Jon Jones fight and the three fight losing streak to top names Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans, and Vitor Belfort, Dan Henderson was looking to get back in the win Column. In the second matchup between these two pride legends, Shogun appeared to have Dan’s number, outpointing him on the feet and nearly having the fight stopped. Dan Henderson regained himself in the third round and a right hand that dropped Shogun and eventually put him away. Hendo: RD 3, K.O.

What are some of your favorite Dan Henderson moments? Let us know in the comments section below.


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