It’s fair to say that Dan Henderson is more than fortunate to be getting a UFC middleweight title shot at UFC 204.
The usual routes to this honour in any sport are to have either put together a sequence of victories or to have produced a big success over one of the leading stars of a respective weight class. Henderson has done neither.
Beginning when stepping into the Octagon with Lyoto Machida at UFC 157 in early 2013, the now 46-year-old has had nine UFC bouts and lost six of them.
He at least comes into this title challenge with Michael Bisping with a recent victory under his belt, but that was only a stoppage of welterweight Hector Lombard.
The only logical reason for this UFC 204 headline bout is that it has a back story, with Henderson having knocked out Bisping seven years ago at UFC 100.
However, the fact that the event is taking place in Bisping’s hometown of Manchester is a major advantage for the champion.
He has fought in England for the UFC on seven occasions previously – against Elvis Sinosic, Matt Hamill, Jason Day, Chris Leben, Denis Kang, Yoshihiro Akiyama and Anderson Silva – and triumphed on every occasion.
Bisping’s one fight in Scotland against Thales Leites ended in another success.
Henderson’s only prior English visit came when challenging Quinton Jackson for the UFC light-heavyweight belt at UFC 75 nine years ago and this ended in defeat by unanimous decision.
The UFC betting has Bisping priced up at 21/50 to make a successful first defence of the title he surprisingly won from Luke Rockhold in June at UFC 199.
Henderson is the 33/20 underdog, but still possesses the same deadly right hand that dropped Bisping in their prior bout, even if is fairly predictable and telegraphed.
The fact three of the challenger’s last four fights have been settled either way inside 80 seconds suggest this may not last long. Bisping winning in the first round looks the best bet on offer at 4/1.