The classic five-round battle between Dan Henderson and Mauricio Rua at UFC 139 will be enshrined in the UFC Hall of Fame “Fight Wing” this summer.
The promotion announced the news during the UFC 224 pay-per-view broadcast on Saturday night. The 2018 UFC Hall of Fame induction ceremony takes place on July 5 at the Pearl at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas and will stream on UFC Fight Pass.
“The first fight between Dan Henderson and Shogun Rua is one of the best fights I’ve ever seen,” UFC President Dana White said in a release. “This fight represents everything that’s great about UFC and the sport of mixed martial arts. Dan came out dropping bombs and took control of the first three rounds, while Shogun was able to absorb a ton of punishment, win the fourth and push the fight to the brink in the fifth. This fight was so good that it was named the 2011 Fight of the Year and is still considered one of the top five fights in UFC history.”
It was indeed an epic encounter between two former Pride Fighting Championships standouts. Henderson wobbled Rua repeatedly with his trademark right hands in the first three rounds. While the Brazilian appeared to be on the brink of defeat, he was able to survive the onslaught.
In round four, “Shogun” wobbled Henderson, took him down and mounted his opponent. That continued into the final stanza, as Rua mounted Henderson a total of five times in the final stanza. Ultimately, however, it was Henderson who emerged with a narrow decision victory, taking all three judges’ scorecards by identical 48-47 counts.
“It’s awesome that this fight is being inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame,” Henderson said. “I knew Shogun and I had thrown and landed a lot of big shots, but I had no idea people were calling it one of the best fights ever until the post-fight press conference. I had to watch the fight to appreciate how exciting it was. I’m honored that what Shogun and I went through that night is being remembered like this.”
Added Rua: “I am very happy for this honor. I trained hard every day for that bout and the fight was crazy. I gave everything I had, all my heart in the Octagon. I didn’t win, but I know I gave my all and this fight was one of the best of my career.”
Henderson and Rua would square off again at UFC Fight Night 38 in March 2014, with Henderson winning via third-round technical knockout.