Newly signed Strikeforce superstar Dan Henderson is in "end stage" negotiations to face Strikeforce middleweight champion Jake Shields at the organizations next CBS event in April.
FiveKnuckles.com learned of the impending match-up from sources close to the organization, and though bout agreements have yet to be signed, the fight is in the process of being finalized according to multiple official sources.
Henderson (25-7) is coming off of three-straight wins over Rousimar Palhares, Rich Franklin, and Michael Bisping, respectively, to close out his recent UFC stint. He leaves the organization as one of its top middleweight contenders and gave champion Anderson Silva one of his biggest challenges when the two met at UFC 82 back in March of 2008.
A true legend of the sport, Henderson is the only fighter to simultaneously hold two titles in two separate weight classes for a major organization (Pride). After Pride's demise, he was picked up by the UFC where he battled UFC champions Quinton "Rampage" Jackson (light-heavyweight) and Anderson Silva (middleweight) to two straight losses before rebounding, as mentioned, to win his next three outings.
He'll jump right into the fire with Strikeforce against Shields for the organizations' middleweight championship title.
Shields (24-4-1) hasn't lost a fight in over five years, producing 13-straight wins over that span. The Cesar Gracie product was forced to move up to middleweight from welterweight due to a lack of quality competition and was tossed directly into the fray against top-5 middleweight Robbie Lawler in his middleweight debut in June of this year.
He quickly dispatched of the much larger Lawler via guillotine choke in the very first round of their five-round scheduled contest to earn Strikeforce's middleweight title. He then defended that title last month against the highly regarded Jason "Mayhem" Miller at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers.
Strikeforce's upcoming April event is set to be its second on CBS. The first was headlined by Fedor Emelianenko vs. Brett Rogers which drew 5.46 million viewers, landing the fight among the top-10 most watched MMA contests in history.
Emelianenko is also scheduled to anchor the April card as well, though an opponent for that match up has yet to be named.