The co-main event of this weekend’s UFC 173 is a battle of two of the best wrestlers to ever step foot inside the Octagon. Dan ‘Hendo’ Henderson and Daniel ‘DC’ Cormier are two Olympic caliber wrestlers who have taken their skills on the wrestling mat and turned themselves into two of the most dominant fighters in the UFC. Dan Henderson, a shoo-in for the UFC hall of fame, is quite possibly the most decorated MMA fighter of all time. He has had a career that has spanned 20 years and has fought the best of the best; and at 40 years old he finds himself only 1 fight away from yet another title shot.
Daniel Cormier is the former captain of the Team USA Olympic wrestling team. If that doesn’t tell you enough about his wrestling ability, his 11-0 MMA record should. Cormier is undefeated as an MMA fighter and 10 of those fights have been at heavyweight. Ranked #3 in the world at heavyweight, Daniel dropped down to light heavyweight and knocked his first opponent at 205 out in 90 seconds. He was matched up against Henderson with the expectation that if he wins this fight, he’ll fight Jon Jones for the light heavyweight title.
A breakdown of this fight provides and interesting look at who owns which advantage in this fight.
This is the area of the fight most people believe will be most telling. Both Henderson and Cormier have mixed it up with some of the best strikers on the planet. Henderson has never possessed a huge arsenal of strikes, but he does possess one big weapon: the H Bomb. Dan Henderson’s dynamite right hand, dubbed ‘the H Bomb’ has given him the advantage of more dynamic strikers in the past. Cormier possesses some monstrous power in his hands as well. His KO over ‘Bigfoot’ Silva was absolutely crushing. Cormier is also much quicker with his strikes, and Henderson has been dropped multiple times in his last two fights. Henderson’s right hand doesn’t save him this time, and neither does his weakening chin. Advantage: Cormier.
As aforementioned, these two men are some of the greatest wrestlers to enter the UFC. Both Olympians, these men have the potential to take each other down at any moment. Where the advantage lies in this area is with explosiveness and strength, rather than skill. Cormier has rag dolled some of the biggest heavyweights in the world, he is faster and stronger than Henderson. While Cormier might not land every take down he attempts, if he wants to take Henderson down, he will do it. Henderson is great in the clinch but, as demonstrated in his last two fights with ‘Shogun’ Rua, he can be taken down. Shogun, a much less decorated wrestler than Henderson, was able to do so multiple times. A bigger, stronger, faster, wrestler than Henderson, Cormier comes out on top here. Advantage: Cormier.
Once the fight hits the mat it will be interesting to see how it unfolds. More than likely, as seen in previous fights, it will be a battle of keeping the other fighter on the mat. It is unlikely we will see many submission attempts in this fight as both fighters tend to go the ground and pound route. Henderson has been submitted before but Cormier won’t be another submission loss for him. Both men have mixed it up with elite black belts in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and both have fared well overall. Advantage: Even.
It’s hard to count Dan Henderson and his H Bomb out of any fight, but, as displayed in his last fight, he is on the downslide of his career. Henderson can’t continue to be dominated only to win due to his outrageous power. He swung for the fences against Shogun, and it worked, but against Cormier, he’ll only be hitting air.
Prediction: Daniel Cormier via Unanimous Decision.
Tags: 173, Dan Henderson, Daniel Cormier, MMA, UFC