While it is not a surprise, UFC President Dana White announced at the UFC 145 post-fight press conference that Jon Jones’ next title defense will be against Dan Henderson. White stated that he informed Henderson prior to the fight between Jones and Rashad Evans that he would face off against the winner.
Henderson, the former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion, has waited for this opportunity since returning to the UFC at UFC 139 in November. “Hendo” defeated “Shogun” Rua in one of the greatest MMA fights of all-time. Despite being offered possible opponents in non-title fights since that win, Henderson has turned those matchups down, instead waiting for the title shot.
He enjoyed arguably the most successful year of his career in 2011, at 41 years old. He fought for and won the Strikeforce light heavyweight title against “Feijao” Cavalcante in March, knocking out the Brazilian in the third round. He then moved up to heavyweight to take on the legendary Fedor Emelianenko. Henderson knocked him out in the first round in stunning fashion, becoming the first fighter to ever knock the Russian down and then knock him out. Then he concluded the year in the classic five-round fight with “Shogun” Rua at UFC 139, where Henderson and Rua had a back-and-forth battle for the duration of the entire fight.
Now Henderson will look to continue that momentum into 2012 as he will take on Jones, who had an even more impressive 2011, defeating Ryan Bader, Rua, “Rampage” Jackson, and Lyoto Machida all within eleven months.