The UFC has officially announced that they will indeed be holding an event prior to their card on Super Bowl weekend at the end of January. UFC President Dana White announced that UFC 93 will be taking place in Dublin, Ireland on January 17th at the O2 Arena. White also confirmed that former PrideFC champion Dan Henderson will be taking on former UFC middleweight champ Rich Franklin in a light heavyweight match up, as well as Mauricio “Shogun” Rua will be getting his long awaited rematch against former PrideFC foe Mark Coleman.
“Rich Franklin vs. Dan Henderson is a battle between two great former champions who are both looking to get another chance to wear a world title around their waist,” UFC President Dana White stated in a press release. “These are two fan favorites with a lot of pride on the line as they want to show that they are still among the very best fighters in the world.”
Dan Henderson is one of the sport’s most talented and successful fighters. He is the only fighter to simultaneously hold two major title belts in two different weight classes, the 185-pound and 205-pound in PrideFC. Unfortunately for him, UFC fans only knew him from his losses to current UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson before he defeated Rousimar Palhares at UFC 88.
After a three year hiatus from the 205-pound division, Franklin made a victorious return to the division by defeating Matt Hamill at UFC 88. Just two years ago, Franklin dominated the 185-pound division before, he too, lost badly to the aforementioned Silva, twice. The former champ now intends to stay at the higher and deeper weight class, as there are not many options for him or his career at the 185-pound division.
“Dan Henderson has great credentials, and he is going to be one of the toughest fights of my career,” Franklin told MMAJunkie.com. “That being said, I’m planning on winning the fight, and I’m looking forward to fighting in the main event and fighting in Ireland. I love the fans, and the way they react by singing and chanting makes it a unique experience for me.”
Coleman, was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame earlier this year, and hinted that he would be more than interested in ending his nine-year Octagon drought. Shortly after, Coleman announced that he had signed a multi-fight contract with the UFC, and was slated to take on Brock Lesnar at UFC 87 in August. Coleman was forced to withdraw from the card due to injury, and reigning champion Randy Couture will be taking his place.
Rua is one of the best 205-pound fighters in the world. He lost his UFC debut to Forrest Griffin at UFC 76 last September, and has been rehabbing his two-time surgically repaired knee ever since.
Rua initially lost to Colemen Pride 31 back in November of 2006. The loss hasn’t sat well with Rua, due to the fact that it wasn’t a clear defeat. Shogun was controlling Coleman for much of the 1stRound, but when Colemen went for a single leg takedown and Shogun placed his right arm down to brace his fall, his arm caught the mat and broke. The referee immediately jumped in and stopped the fight.