Signing a big TV deal with Fox was part one. Part two was putting together a big main event to draw an impressive first audience for UFC on free broadcast TV. Five years ago, Dan Henderson challenging Anderson Silva was on the board as a possibility. The following is our story on that possibility published originally on Aug. 25, 2011…
Following the announcement of the UFC’s monumental new television deal with Fox, reports emerged that the organization was targeting a bout between UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva and Dan Henderson for the first event on the network this November.
Silva needs to defeat Yushin Okami at UFC 134 this weekend before anything comes to fruition, but UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta said on Wednesday that he’d “love” to do that fight on Nov. 12.
For his part, Henderson is still a free agent following the completion of his final fight in Strikeforce in July when he took out Fedor Emelianenko in the first round. However, while his manager says he hasn’t signed anything yet, the prospect of fighting “The Spider” for a second time is one that would get the 41-year-old to return to the middleweight division.
“He’s open to going back [to the UFC],” said his manager, Aaron Crecy, in an interview with MMAFighting.com. “And to face Anderson, that’s probably the only fight he’d consider at 185. If they offered it, I’m sure he’d accept that, but that’s my own opinion.”
The two longtime veterans met back in 2008 in a unification bout between the Pride and UFC titles at UFC 82. Silva submitted Henderson in the second round of that fight, and has still yet to be defeated in the UFC.
Penick’s Analysis: If it’s a title fight Henderson wants upon his return to the UFC, this fight with Silva is a lot easier and more likely for the UFC to put together than a fight with Jon Jones at light heavyweight. If he’s willing to make the drop and this fight comes together, this would certainly be a big-time rematch on free television, and could help make a splash on Fox in the very first UFC event on network television. I’d be all for it if the fight comes together, but Silva still needs to win on Saturday night and the UFC needs to come to terms with Henderson before they can move forward.