Leading up to UFC 71 in Las Vegas, Nevada, speculation had run rampant that a fighter from Pride was going to be crossing over to challenge the winner of the Chuck Liddell and Quinton Jackson fight. Most talk focused on the probability of Mauricio “Shogun” Rua or Wanderlei Silva being that fighter.
But in stark contrast to either Chute Boxe fighter, it was Team Quest’s Dan Henderson that made his way to the ring following Jackson’s dethroning of Liddell at the MGM Garden Arena. Henderson is the only fighter in Pride or UFC history that has held titles in two different weight classes simultaneously.
The UFC made a point of introducing Henderson to the UFC 71 crowd and noting that he will be first challenger to Jackson’s belt.
At the post-fight press conference, Jackson joke about Henderson’s signing, “He smells a lot better than Matt Lindland. Matt Lindland be funky dog, that’s for real… that boy is funky, he smells like two weeks.” He continued, “I think Dan’s got a different style, because Dan, he throws those thing, but Matt Lindland, he just wanna hug you the whole damn time and smelling like that, that’s the last person you wanna hug.”
Giving more of his thoughts on Henderson’s style, Jackson stated, “Dan Henderson is a tough little ugly son of a gun. So you know I got a lot to watch out for. He’s a great wrestler; he got a strong right and himself. I used to spar with Dan Henderson. I used to go help him out to train. But, he never returned the favor, so I guess, I gotta pay him back for all that.”
Following the event, Henderson spoke with the media about bringing his Pride belts to the Octagon to face Jackson. Likely facing Jackson in the fall, Henderson gave his thoughts on both Jackson and Liddell, his fight with the new UFC champ, bringing his Pride belts over to the UFC, and much more.
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