The UFC has officially announced a pair of light heavyweight clashes between Rich Franklin vs. Dan Henderson and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Mark Coleman for its confirmed UFC 93 event on January 17 from the brand new O2 Arena in Dublin, Ireland.
The event will be available in the United States on a pay-per-view basis.
“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 is quoted as saying in a press release at UFC.com. “Franklin is the former UFC middleweight champion, and he’s a dangerous striker with solid submission skills – he also showed great takedown defense in his September destruction of powerful wrestler Matt Hamill. Dan Henderson is the former PRIDE welterweight and middleweight champion. He’s a world class wrestler, known for his great chin and his one punch knockout power. He defeated formidable Brazilian submission specialist Rousimar Palhares in September. 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.”
The Henderson vs. Franklin has been a matchup many hardcore fans have been asking to see for quite some time. It’s been reported that attempts the match the two up have been made in the past, but to no avail. Now it’s a reality and both fighters are looking forward to the 205 lbs. encounter.
“This is the fight my fans have wanted for a long time now, and they want to see me fight Rich Franklin,” Henderson is quoted. “I think this will be a great fight for Ireland, it definitely will be exciting because we both like to stand and bang, and we both have knockout power. I’m excited to go to Ireland and to take on Rich; I think he’s a tough opponent and a huge challenge, but I don’t see myself losing to him.”
“Dan Henderson has great credentials, and he is going to be one of the toughest fights of my career,” Franklin told UFC.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.”
Underneath Franklin vs. Henderson on the UFC 93 marquee will be another bout contested at 205 lbs. featuring a rematch between Coleman and Rua. The two first met in 2006 during PRIDE 31. Coleman was declared victorious via TKO just 49 seconds into round 1 after Rua sustained a broken arm. A potential rematch has been rumored for quite some time.
For the 16-3 Rua, it will be his first fight since a third round submission loss to current UFC light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin at UFC 76 on Sept. 22, 2007.
Coleman, a former UFC heavyweight champion and a UFC Hall of Famer, has not fought since Oct. 21, 2006 following a second round submission loss to then-PRIDE heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko at PRIDE 32.
Coleman’s appearance at UFC 93 will be his first fight under the UFC banner since a decision loss to Pedro Rizzo at UFC 18 in 1999. He had been scheduled to face Brock Lesnar at UFC 87 but was forced to pull out of the fight due to an injury.
For the 43-year old Coleman, this will mark his first fight as a light heavyweight.