The UFC middleweight division remains an utter mess. Champ Anderson Silva is so dominant that there is more fascination with his potential fights at 205lbs or maybe even heavyweight than at 185. And that leaves the two top contenders for his belt out in the cold.
UFC.com is clearly pushing a Dan Henderson vs Nate Marquardt title eliminator bout. Today the site features an article on the both of them and it spares no effort in reminding fans just how badly each was beaten by the champ in their first fight:
Silva's middleweight crime scene is a mess of humbled challengers and crushed dreams. The outlines of great fighters have been sketched on the Octagon canvas in ominous white chalk.
Two of the outlines, seemingly finished at the time of Silva's crimes, have since got up and walked free of the crime scene. Not only that, Dan Henderson and Nate ‘The Great' Marquardt have enjoyed a successful rehabilitation programme. They've miraculously healed up, learned from the experience and become better men as a result of Silva's slaying.
But Dan Henderson at least wants no part of a fight with Nate Marquardt, per Josh Gross:
"I think I'm the one guy that poses enough dangers [to Silva] style-wise," he said. "If I were his manager, I'd be trying not to have him fight me as well. I know that Anderson Silva is really trying not to fight me. It's obvious."
Henderson said if the UFC came to him with a bout against Marquardt, he would turn it down and seek challenges at light heavyweight.
"I think he's right in line for a title shot as well, but I feel I've earned that already," Henderson said. "That's a fight that more than likely will happen in the future, but I think right now, from the UFC's standpoint, they shouldn't be having me and Nate fight each other. They're going to get stuck without any new opponents for Anderson Silva.
Dan Henderson is someone who has proven many times over that he can compete with the very best in the Light Heavyweight Division. He's been pressured by the UFC to fight at middleweight since losing to Quinton Rampage Jackson in 2007. And other than one fight at light heavy against Rich Franklin (which oddly enough was an eliminator match to coach The Ultimate Fighter and then fight at middleweight against opposing coach Michael Bisping), 185lbs is where Dan has been fighting.
The problem is, if he's not fighting for the belt at 185, Henderson would rather be fighting high profile fights in the much more high profile Light Heavyweight division. We'll see if the UFC can sweeten the pot enough on a fight against a very dangerous Nate Marquardt to make it appealing to Henderson.