SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Dan Henderson left the UFC two years ago because he felt underappreciated -- and underpaid.
Now that he's back for a third tour with the top mixed martial arts promotion, the 41-year-old has no such issues.
Henderson has a new contract, a match with Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at UFC 139 on Saturday night, and a possible shot at the UFC light heavyweight title after that.
It's a homecoming Henderson couldn't have written better himself.
"It's pretty much just a part of the business but it does feel good to realize that this is probably where I'm going to end up and finish my career," Henderson said. "I've got no complaints, no regrets at all. I wasn't satisfied with what the other offer was I had from UFC at the time. I think they're happy and I'm happy with the deal we have now."
Henderson (28-8) left the UFC in 2009, five months after dramatically knocking out Michael Bisping in the second round. The impressive win should have put Henderson in contention for the UFC middleweight title but instead he signed with rival Strikeforce after not getting a new contract.
Zuffa LLC, the UFC's parent company, purchased Strikeforce in March but company President Dana White insisted the two continue to operate independently of one another.
While fighting in Strikeforce, Henderson won the welterweight and middleweight titles.
Most recently, Henderson jumped up a few weight classes and earned one of the biggest wins of his career as a heavyweight on July 30. He defeated Fedor Emelianenko by first-round knockout, possibly ending the Russian superstar's North American career with the stunning victory.
Now back in the UFC, Henderson is eyeing a potential title shot against light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. First he has to get past Rua (20-5), who owned the light heavyweight crown until losing it to Jones in March.
"I'm not going to worry about that right now," Henderson said. "As long as I do what I need to do inside the cage, the rest will take care of itself. I have goals, and one of those goals is to obtain a UFC belt. To do that, I need to get past Shogun."
Despite a history of injuries that have slowed his career, Rua is coming off a first-round knockout of Forrest Griffin in August. A win over Henderson could also add his name to the discussion for a possible title shot.
"This is a marquee fight for me," said Rua, speaking through an interpreter. "I'm not thinking right now about fighting for the belt or what will come next. I'll only think about that after the fight."
Rua's last three wins have all come by first-round knockout. Henderson has never been knocked out in his career.
"Good luck to him on that one," Henderson said.
The fight, one of two co-main events, is being held at the HP Pavilion, home of the NHL's San Jose Sharks. It's also where Strikeforce has held many of its cards, adding a unique spin to Henderson's bout with Rua.
"It's something I think fans have been looking forward to and wanting for a long time," Henderson said. "He's definitely well-rounded and a huge opponent for me to get past. I don't feel any pressure to perform because of coming from Strikeforce. I am not worried about proving anything."
The fight pits Henderson's power against Rua's array of kicks, knees and punches. Both are solid in the ground game while Rua may have the edge in submission holds.
"I think I'm 100 percent recovered from my injuries," Rua said. "I hope to be able to impose my rhythm and my game in the fight."
In the co-main event, former Pride champion Wanderlei Silva (33-11-1) meets UFC newcomer Cung Le (7-1).
Silva was once one of the most dominant fighters in the game. He lost only once in 18 fights from January 1999 through October 2004 but has struggled over the last five years and has dropped six of his last eight.
Most recently, Silva was knocked out by Chris Leben 27 seconds into the first round.
Afterward, White said he thought Silva should retire. Instead, he's trying to restart his career.
"I don't have (retirement) in my mind," Silva said. "I think my performance is going to make me fight again. What happened the last fight with Leben can happen with everybody."