Is Dan Henderson one of the 10 greatest MMA fighters of all time?

Dan Henderson (L) laid a beating on Babalu Sobral (R). Photo via Strikeforce.com.
Dan Henderson (L) laid a beating on Babalu Sobral (R). Photo via Strikeforce.com.

UFC middleweight Dan Henderson will be fighting in his 44th professional MMA fight on Saturday night when he takes on Tim Boetsch in the main event of UFC Fight Night 68. Henderson has competed in multiple weight classes and held titles in Strikeforce (light heavyweight) and PRIDE (middleweight and welterweight) organizations, and also was the UFC 17 tournament winner and RINGS Tournament winner.  In fact, he won the Brazil Open in his very fight tournament when he debuted in 1997.

A career that has spanned 18 yrs and has beaten some of the best fighters of his generation. However, although he has fought for UFC gold on two occasions he has never held a UFC title.

If we look at all of the accomplishments, is Dan Henderson one of the 10 greatest MMA fighters of all time?

Let’s look at some qualifiers:

  • Overall record
  • Longevity
  • Titles Held
  • Finishing Rate
  • Notable wins and losses

-Henderson’s overall record stands at (30 wins against 13 losses). He has 14 wins via TKO and 2 via submission(although one of these counts as a submission via strikes), and has won 14 of his fights via judges decision. He has 13 losses of which seven have come via judges decision, while four have come via submission, and two via TKO/KO. It should be noted that almost every loss has come against a ranked opponent at the time the fight took place.

-18 yrs speaks for itself while competing against the best of the best for the majority of that time period.

-Henderson never held UFC gold but did hold championships in two different weight classes over his career in Strikeforce and PRIDE.

-Finishing rate of 53% in his wins

-Henderson holds notable wins over two of the greatest heavyweights of all time in Fedor Emelianenko and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. He also owns two wins over Mauricio “Shogun” Rua who is thought to be one of the greatest heavyweights of his time. He also holds two wins Renato “Babalu” Sobral and holds wins over the likes of Wanderlei Silva, Rich Franklin, and Vitor Belfort. Who could forget his highlight reel KO win over Michael Bisping at UFC 100? The only notable loss that I recall other than the loss to Kazuo Misaki, is the loss to Jake Shields in which Henderson was a heavy betting favorite.

Henderson is clearly past his prime at 44 years of age and probably is too tough for his own good. He has lost five of his last six fights which has clearly diminished his overall record. I suppose longevity could be a negative in that sense, but nevertheless, it’s interesting to look at from a fan perspective.

I know Henderson is respected by fans and media alike, but I’m curious to see where he fits in the grand scheme list of the greatest fighters in MMA history.

Would he be top 10? Top 15-20? What say you?

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