UFC tournament title? Check.
Rings King of Kings tournament title? Check.
Pride welterweight title? Pride middleweight title? Check and check again.
Strikeforce light heavyweight title? Another check.
So what’s left? Henderson would still like a crack at a UFC divisional belt. When he won his last UFC championship, it was under the old tournament format at UFC 17 in 1998.
Returning to the Octagon at Saturday night’s UFC 139 as the latest Strikeforce light heavyweight beltholder, the win over Shogun Rua had title implications written all over it.
“I tried to finish (Shogun) a couple times. I think it tired me out a little bit. He tried to ‘Rocky Balboa’ me early on, wore me out with his head,” said Henderson after the fight in an interview with his sponsor, Clinch Gear.
He believes the win over Shogun “absolutely” puts him next up for a shot at the belt currently wrapped around Jon Jones’ waist.
“I definitely want the 205-pound title,” he said in the interview.
UFC president Dana White doesn’t disagree.
“The guy is so talented, he can do both; he can fight in both weight classes,” said White at the UFC 139 post-fight press conference. “I’m sure with him, it would be a matter of which one he could get first.”
The only problem for Hendo is that the line is already a little bit long.
Jones is slated to face Lyoto Machida at UFC 140 on Dec. 10 in Toronto. Waiting in the wings for the winner is Rashad Evans, who has already been forced out of his shot at the belt several times for one reason or another. And it doesn’t appear that White is ready to let Henderson skip to the front of the line.
“There’s guys already lined up to fight for (both the 185 and 205-pound titles) and whichever one is available first,” said White, before adding, “You guys know, anything can happen.”
Even if Henderson were to opt for the middleweight division, Anderson Silva is already expected to face Chael Sonnen in his next defense of the belt. The plan was for them to fight at UFC 143 on Super Bowl weekend, but it sounds as if a shoulder injury will keep Silva on the sidelines until early summer.
Though he and Shogun were both en route to the hospital for precautionary treatment, Henderson was adamant about his future, tweeting on Saturday night, “Shogun is one tough guy. Hope u all liked the show–I want a title shot next.”
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