by Steven Marrocco – MMAWeekly.com
PORTLAND, Ore. – One after the other, UFC Fight Club fans took the mic to thank Dan Henderson for knocking Michael Bisping out at UFC 100.
No problem, said Henderson.
“Honestly, it was a pleasure to do it,” he said. “You don’t have to thank me.”
Bisping has already promised to redeem his loss, but Henderson, a founding member of Team Quest who lived in Gresham for two years, says he wants Anderson Silva before anyone else.
“That’s what Dana White announced, but hopefully, (Silva) steps up and fights me,” said Henderson.
White and Silva have sent mixed signals on the possibility of a rematch. Earlier this month, White said Henderson was next in line for “The Spider.” Then, at this weekend’s UFC 102 pre-fight press conference, he said the winner of Demian Maia vs. Nate Marquardt could be the next challenger.
Henderson believes Marquardt will come out ahead on Saturday, but would rather face Maia to get to Silva (“I could take advantage of his lack of striking,” he comments). If the middleweight champion is not the endgame, he’ll be back at light heavyweight, where Lyoto Machida reigns.
“I’m in the game to challenge myself and to beat the top guys, and whether it’s at 185 or 205, that’s what I want to do, so I would love do to do that,” he said. “If I don’t get a chance at Anderson right now, I want to fight one of the top guys that will get me into the title shot (at 205).”
The 39-year-old former Pride champion said every tick of the clock counted now.
“I’ve been able to hold my own against some of these younger guys,” he said. “So I’ve got two or three good years in me, and I just want to make sure I accomplish some goals first. That’s why every fight is important for me, because I am towards the end of my career, and a rematch with Bisping wouldn’t appeal to me, and when they announced that possibly I might fight Rich (Franklin) again that didn’t really appeal to me either.”
Henderson said he looked forward to spending more time with his kids when he stepped away from the sport, and promised he would always be involved in a coaching capacity.
The outcome of Saturday’s middleweight title eliminator should hold the key to hope or more patience for the longtime veteran.