Dan Henderson Thinks the Biggest Fight Right Now Would be a Title Unification Bout in the UFC

August 18, 2011
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Dan Henderson victorious at Strikeforce

Dan Henderson victorious at Strikeforce

When Dan Henderson stepped into the cage with Fedor Emelianenko he was doing so without much of a net below him if he fell short in the fight.

Obviously, Henderson didn’t need the net because he TKO’d the former Pride legend in the first round, picking up a huge win and putting himself in an enviable position as he entered his free agency period.

The fight with Emelianenko signified the last fight on Henderson’s contract with Strikeforce. Now, the veteran of several promotion and multi-time champion will go into negotiations seeking a new deal and the best possible fights for his career.

Currently, Henderson is enjoying some much needed downtime following the win over Emelianenko, but he still has hopes of getting at least one more fight in during 2011.

“I’m ready to fight, and I think I’m a valuable asset to make some money with also, and they know that,” Henderson told MMAWeekly Radio about his upcoming negotiations with Zuffa. “I’m not worried about what’s going to happen. I’d like to try and fight in December. Take another month off or so and get back to training.”

Despite Henderson’s standing as the Strikeforce light heavyweight champion, many wonder if it would be financially viable for Zuffa to re-sign him to that promotion or just bring him back over to the UFC where he competed for several fights previously.

As far as Henderson is concerned, he really doesn’t care as long as the right deal is presented.

“It will probably come down to money, but it’s coming from the same people, so it’s a matter of where they’re going to make the most money off of me as well, and to be able to pay what I’m getting paid, they need to be making money as well,” commented Henderson.

Where they’d make the most money from Henderson is undoubtedly in the UFC. The former two-weight-division champion in Pride believes that probably makes the most sense as well, and if he had his way, it would be a title unification bout against the winner of Jon Jones and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.

“I think the biggest fight they could promote is probably a title unification with whoever is the champ in the UFC,” Henderson said.

“I think for them to utilize the best potential to make money for everybody, I think they’d have to have Rashad wait it out one more fight.”

It’s common knowledge that Rashad Evans is currently the top contender and next in line for a shot at the UFC light heavyweight title, but would the UFC switch things up to welcome Dan Henderson back into the fold and give him the spot instead?

Right now, that’s the great unknown, but UFC president Dana White has commented that he plans on sitting down with Henderson in the near future to hopefully hammer out a deal.

Henderson is even willing to sit down with his old boss to get it done.

“If he’s the one I gotta talk to, I’m sure I could stare at his face for a little while,” Henderson joked when talking about White.

As far as timing goes, Henderson is going to enjoy some vacation and spend time with his family while negotiations are ongoing. He’s hopeful for a new deal to be reached sometime in the next few weeks, and if it’s done right, Henderson will more than likely be UFC bound.

“Hopefully within the next month while I have this time off, I’d like to know what’s going to happen, but I’m not in a huge hurry,” said Henderson.

“Just want to make sure the deal’s right.”

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  • gnodeb

    Hendo vs Rashad… sounds good…

  • b-soc

    Money wise, title unification bouts between strikeforce and the UFC make sense. Competitively, they are pointless. That point will be proven in October. With the exception of Gilbert Melendez, every strikeforce champion will get badly beaten.

    That being said, I can see why they would do it……..for the inevitable dissolving of Strikeforce when the showtime contract expires.

  • Unador

    I’d rather see Hendo vs Rashad as well. hmmm. I give the advantage to Hendo. Rashad’s gonna have a hard time knocking him out I would think. You can see how hard Rampage tried, and failed. ( ofcourse some say Rampage doesn’t have good KO power anyway )
    I think it will be Dan’s bjj that gets him the victory unless he catches Evans with an overhand right. Evans’ jaw is perhaps questionable.
    I wouldn’t want Rashad to wait it out another fight. He deserves the next title shot. Hendo has a belt, he should wait until after Rashad fights.
    on a side note, I still think Jones is here to stay if he can keep a level head. I see Jones picking Dan apart no different than he did Rua.

  • Has anyone had more title shots than Dan Henderson? I think he’s had more shots at the belt than Randy.

    • MrAdidas

      NOT even close! I’m assuming you are talking about title fights (not “JUST” in the UFC obviously), but I believe Hendo had about 10-12 title fights, if you count the tournaments he won, as for Randy I believe he had 16 title Fights, which is incredible when you consider Randy’s last 5 fights were NOT title fights, that said he retired with 30 MMA fights, so if we take away his last 5 NON title fights, that means in 25 fights he had fought for the title 16 times (in 25 fights which is unheard of).

  • vegaseric

    Dana White will see right through this.

  • bajafox

    I think the feud between Rashad and Jones will be just as profitable, if not more since they probably don’t pay either of those 2 as much as Hendo will probably want, as a Hendo v. Jones for the unification.

    As much as I dislike Rashad and don’t want him fighting for the title, it would be a d1ck move by the UFC if Rashad waited this long, re-earned his title shot and then lost it to Hendo.

    • Unador

      agreed 95%.

      I don’t dislike Rashad as much as I used to. Tho, I still don’t actively like him either.
      I do respect his improvements tho, and still think the Evans vs Imes fight was a better fight than Griffin vs Bonner. It’s just that the G v B fight came at the perfect time.

  • wonggfan

    Hendo needs to defend his title against Mousasi and the winner of Gracie/Mo.

    Mousasi/Gracie/Mo/Hendo/Feijao are game against any of the UFC fighters except for Jon Jones. I would love to see Mousasi vs Shogun/Machida.

    • Unador

      yes, Hendo needs to defend his belt a time or two more.
      He needs to let a couple of these other fighters a chance to beat him before he runs off losing the belt to Jones.

      Question: Do you think Mousasi has the,..the.., the animation? energy level? gumption? to chase Machida around the Octagon? Tito was nearly in an all out run trying to engage this guy. Machida can move backwards and to the side at nearly a dead sprint it seems. Do you think Mousasi can elevate his game enough to score a victory here? I see Machida out pointing Mousasi just like a karate match, and maybe catching Mousasi with a KO if he get’s frustrated or sloppy.
      I think Shogun would be a better opponent for him, and for us as fans. Rua will take the fight to him.