Done Playing the Waiting Game, Dan Henderson Embraces UFC 157 Bout Against Lyoto Machida

February 11, 2013
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Dan Henderson at Strikeforce

Dan Henderson

Just five short months ago, former Pride and Strikeforce champion Dan Henderson saw the opportunity to finally add the UFC strap to his collection slip from his grasp.

He had been scheduled – after months and months of waiting – to challenge UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones for the one missing belt. Those plans, however, were nixed when Henderson had to withdraw from the fight due to a knee injury suffered in training.

During his recovery, the title shot he had been slated for slipped farther down the line.

Chael Sonnen was granted a TUF 17 coaching slot opposite Jones, and a shot at his belt at UFC 159 on April 27 in New Jersey.

So when Henderson finally steps in the Octagon at UFC 157 on Feb. 23, it will be against Lyoto Machida. It also will have been more than 15 months since he last fought.

That will never happen again. At least, not if he can help it.

“I’m not frustrated. I’m just happy to be in there fighting again,” Henderson told MMAWeekly.com. “I was more frustrated at my knee than anyone else.

“Obviously, I would have liked to have (the Jones) fight still. But we’re moving on.”

Henderson feels like the fight with Jones still could have happened, especially since he is now fighting Machida at an earlier date than when Jones faces Sonnen.

“It’s something that definitely could have happened, but for whatever reason, it didn’t, and that’s the way it goes.”

Besides landing Henderson in a different fight altogether, the situation has given the 42-year-old fighter a new perspective on the twilight years of his career.

“I’m not gonna wait around for a title fight anymore,” he declared. “I’m just gonna fight as much as I can.”

Part of the 15-month layoff was due to his decision, in agreement with UFC officials, to wait for a shot at the winner of Jon Jones and Rashad Evans. That turned out to be Jones, but then when he suffered an injury, the fight fell apart, Sonnen was slotted in ahead of him, and he wound up in his current position, fighting to stay in contention.

“It was a mutual decision on my part and the UFC’s part to wait for Jon Jones or Rashad (Evans), but I’m not gonna do it anymore. If the timing is not there, I’ll fight the next toughest guy out there.”

And that’s exactly what he’s doing.

Machida is one of the top 205-pounders in the world. He’s a former UFC champion and has one of the most elusive styles in the division. When other fighters talk about opponents with a puzzling style, Machida immediately jumps to the fore.

Henderson, however, appreciates the challenge set before him, and title shot or no title shot, he embraces fighting a man like Lyoto Machida.

“It’s a fun fight to figure a guy out like that,” said Henderson. “He’s not the normal guy, so that always makes it funner for me when it’s not always the same guys I’ve fought over and over again.”

Henderson and Machida square off in the UFC 157 co-main event in support of Ronda Rousey’s UFC bantamweight championship bout against Liz Carmouche on Feb. 23 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.

 

  • Mike mckinney

    Please let this fight go on as planned. I bought floor seats for pretty much this fight alone.
    I must now go find some wood to knock on.
    On another note, hopefully hendo’s girls are there. The two he brought with him were the stars of the show at UFC 148. I sat directly behind him, and even my girlfriend caught herself starring at them. Lol

    • JimmyPettishardo

      Umm…Hendo’s girls??

      Anyway, Hendo is going down in this fight. Lyoto is a bad match up for Hendo.

    • http://www.facebook.com/marcos.antonio.3511 Marcos Carlos

      feel very but my countryman Lyoto will win easy easy!

  • Kyo

    wow, cant wait for this fight! but I think hendo will lose this fight as well as sonnen, so bring on Sonnen vs Hendo!

  • marcus miles

    I can see lyoto getting knocked out similar to how showgun knocked him out. Lyoto dosnt take punches that well when they are power shots. HEndo can eat power shots all day. im not gonna count lyoto out on the pther hand.

    • http://www.facebook.com/marcos.antonio.3511 Marcos Carlos

      ‘m seeing a Brazilian American of wiping out this time this dan henderson and more good not take it anymore!

    • John Bunch

      I wonder if Hendo will be content to keep it on the feet for that very reason. I would assume he would want to get things on the ground if possible, but you have a good point…Shogun didn’t necessarily “solve” the Machida puzzle…but he showed it’s not impossible to stand with Machida. I like both these guys, tbh, and if Machida wins and gets the rematch, I would like to see him press the action more like he did in Rd 1 of his fight with Jones. I know Jones made adjustments, but I thought Machida was too careful in Rd 2. When fighting a praying mantis, you can’t stand back and let it utilize its length.

  • Sir_Roy

    Hope Hendo comes in form for this one. He’ll need it. 15 months off with injury is a long haul and he’ll definitely be wanting his A game for Lyoto.

    Feels like the brute versus the technician insofar as the striking game is concerned.

    Anyone else anticipating a little Hendo ground and pound action?

  • http://www.CombatScienceMMA.com/ CombatScienceMMA

    The winner of this fight deserves a title shot. Nothing else to say.

    • John Bunch

      I agree! I just wonder what happens with the Gustaffsson/Mousasi winner? A lot of people will argue to see that winner get the shot, but Dan deserves it if he wins. He’s older, he’s paid his dues, and he’s done his part to keep this sport growing in the right direction. My wife is nearly in tears when he loses…Machida is going to be an interesting matchup. Dan’s no slouch on his feet by any means, but I’m sure he’d love to get Machida on his back, bjj or no. Luckily for Dan it’s 3 rounds, not 5. He can go 5 if he has to…I just like his gameplan a little better in a 3 round fight. That Shields fight was crazy…

      • http://www.CombatScienceMMA.com/ CombatScienceMMA

        The clinch game will be interesting b/c Dan has is an olympic caliber greco roman wrestler and Lyoto is a true martial artist who uses the clinch in his own way. Eh I’ll give the edge to Dan who am I kidding. Standup is interesting. Dan can KO anybody. Machida is elusive. Dan has a hell of a chin. This is just a tough fight. Interesting enough Hendrson has only been submitted by fighters under the Nog brothers. Which would really be the Nogs and Anderson Silva. That may mean nothing though but add a little interest to the prefight hype. I’m just excited. And Shields oh man what a war.

  • po

    can’t wait for lyoto to knock this dumb f*** out & into retirement

  • joser929

    I still dont get how sonnens trash talk got him a shot before
    Either of these 2 fighters gets me mad because both had been told title shots and sonnen hasnt even proved himself at 205
    But whatever hopefully who wins this fight Will not get bs about title shot again