After beating Mauricio "Shogun" Rua in an all-time classic last November, 41-year-old legend Dan Henderson turned down a proposed bout with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira to watch how events would unfold in January's UFC on FOX show.
If Rashad Evans had been upset by Phil Davis, Henderson would have been thrust into a title fight with UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. And even if Evans had won but Chael Sonnen had lost his fight on the same night, Henderson might have received a chance at a rematch with middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva.
Neither of those scenarios transpired, however, as both Evans and Sonnen won, setting up their own respective title shots. That has left Henderson in a kind of championship purgatory, with no obvious short-term move, according to Dana White."He doesn't want to fight Machida," White said following last night's UFC on FUEL event. "He doesn't want to wait. He's going to have to wait. Who does he want to fight? I don't know what to do with Dan. Dan's either going to have to wait for Jones or wait for Silva. Or fight somebody else."
If that sounds like a lot of hand-wringing and uncertainty, you should have seen the look on White's face, his eyes scanning around the room as if searching for an answer.
A look at the UFC's top 205-pounders puts the issue in focus. Jones and Evans are set for April. A Rua rematch wouldn't make sense. He's apparently not interested in fighting either Machida or Nogueira. And as for the middleweight division, he's only interested in fighting Silva.
Perhaps one possibility could be the winner of UFC 144's Quinton "Rampage" Jackson vs. Ryan Bader fight. More specifically, a rematch with Jackson might make some sense, and in a recent interview with ESPN, Henderson said he would "entertain" that possibility, seeing it as a big fight.
If Jackson loses though, the pickings will be slim, and Hendo's wait will most likely persist into the summertime. He's said he'd be willing to compete as a heavyweight, but the UFC is likely to resist that offer. His best bet then would be the Jones-Evans winner, who -- barring injury -- would likely be available around August, the same month that Henderson turns 42.