by Al Yu – MMAWeekly.com
It’s been over six years since Dan Henderson and Wanderlei Silva last faced each other in a Pride ring. This Saturday, the two will meet each other again in a long awaited rematch.
As the main event of Pride 33: The Second Coming, “Hollywood” Henderson looks to become the first fighter to end Wanderlei Silva’s six-year reign as Pride’s 205-pound champion. Silva is currently the #3 fighter in the world in his weight class, according to the MMAWeekly Rankings.
Training with other fighters such as Matt Lindland and Art Santore, Henderson is focusing on one of the biggest fights of his career. “It’s all I’ve been thinking about for the past couple of months, I’m pretty excited,” said the Team Quest fighter. “I’m a much better and different fighter. I wasn’t that great back then. I’ve learned so much since then…it’s going to be a different game.”
Back in 2000 at Pride 12, Wanderlei Silva earned a unanimous decision over Henderson in a high paced fight. The match took place in Japan and Silva was able to utilize knees to the head and foot stomps, a regular part of his offensive arsenal. At Pride 33, both fighters will have to abide but Nevada State Athletic Commission regulations, which do not allow such strikes to the head of a downed opponent. “Most of that [Japanese rules] benefited when he was top. I honestly don’t think he’ll be on top in this fight. I don’t think it’ll matter a whole lot,” Henderson stated confidently.
“I think I can hurt him on his feet,” said Henderson, who is currently the #6 Middleweight in the MMAWeekly Rankings. “We’re obviously going to be on our feet. I know I’ll be putting him on his back as well. I normally don’t try to hump a guy to death on the ground. I’m out there trying to finish the fight almost every fight. I usually try to finish the fight and Wanderlei tries to finish the fight; it’s just going to make for an exciting fight.”
Dan Henderson is the current Pride Welterweight Champion. When he faces the “Axe Murderer” this Saturday, he has a chance to make history by being the first fighter to a hold a belt in two different weight divisions in Pride. “When I get Wanderlei’s belt, Pride has mentioned that they would want me to defend both belts,” revealed Henderson. “It’s really exciting for me. I’m focusing on just winning the fight. The rest will take care of itself. I plan on beating him and holding that belt. We’ll see what happens after that.
“I think the whole card is going to be really exciting for the fans, not to mention the show that Pride usually puts on. It’s going to be a war.”