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Is Dan Henderson a ‘Gimme Fight’ for Jon Jones?

Posted on by MMAWeekly.com Staff

Jon Jones vs Dan Henderson - UFC 151DENVER — It’s tough to follow up a fight with as much hype surrounding it as UFC 148‘s Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen rematch, but the UFC is doing it’s best, pitting light heavyweight champion Jon Jones against Dan Henderson at UFC 151 on Sept. 1 in Las Vegas.

Jones has been rolling through the competition, however, and that’s no small task. He’s defeated the likes of Shogun Rua, Rashad Evans, Rampage Jackson, Lyoto Machida and others.

So what’s the big deal in facing Dan Henderson at UFC 151? Well, just ask UFC president Dana White, Henderson has the credentials and more importantly the in-ring experience, proven over more than a decade in the sport, to be a very “big deal” for Jon Jones to overcome.

Is he a “gimme fight” for Jones? Not by any stretch says White.

Jones, of course, also has to deal with the pressures that come his way, being such a young champion, dealing with the rigors of stardom. At just 25 years of age, he’s already had to deal with both heavy duty smack talk from Jackson and the fractured friendship with Evans. Now, Jones also has to deal with the stigma of a recent DWI offense in New York.

Dana White weighed in recently both on Jones’ fight with Henderson and how he’s dealing with the pressure in the MMAWeekly.com video below.

Stay tuned to MMAWeekly.com for more UFC 151 news and UFC 151 videos as we get closer to the Sept. 1 fight time.




  • atmosphere

    Hendo has a better puncher’s chance than most anybody, but this match-up still heavily favors Jones. Between Hendo’s one-punch power, Jon’s new Nike contract, Jackson’s conservative game planning for his top-tier fighters, and recent trends from his evolution over his UFC career, I’ll be that Jones will:

    1) keep long. flick jabs and kicks while circling out
    2) go for the occasional tie-up, push Hendo against cage
    3) more jabs, push kicks, etc.
    4) go for take-down, wear him down
    5) finish him on the ground after he tires

    • lfighterc

      Oh gosh, who should i root for, your typical black athlete or a B@d@ss WHITE MAN M0ther $%@#!*^$%@^#&@^%$^T&$

  • smill0313

    Hendo has the wrestling credentials to give Jones a hard time. Grecco-Roman is tailor made to close distance and obtain take downs from a clinch instead of getting a leg. Hendo has faced taller, better reached, opponents for most of his career, so dealing with Jones’ reach will be less of a challenge for Hendo as much as other LHW’s. Couple that with one punch KO power and we have ourselves a championship bout. With that being said, Jones is the favorite for a reason and although Hendo has the best chance out of ANY LHW to beat Jones, it just probably is not going to happen.

    • atmosphere

      Jon Jones was a Jr. Greco champ and has some of the best takedown defense in the game, so he’ll be able to hold his own in the clinch against Hendo. Also, Hendo’s takedown defense isn’t great, he doesn’t really go for many takedowns himself, and is susceptible on his back. His best chance is to keep it standing IMO

      • smill0313

        Oh, I totally agree. I believe Jones’ take-down defense is literally at 100% (stuffed ALL take-down attempts). I just think Hendos style and calibur of wrestling is enough to give Jones a hard time, atleast a harder time than other contenders (even Evans). Jones might not find it so easy to toss Hendo around the way he has past opponents, and he FOR SURE has to be more cautious striking with Hendo than with past opponents.

        • RubeKegal

          Stop it…just stop it..

          Wrestlers whom Bones made look like kids and took all 3 down with ease:

          Hamill(3 TIME DIVISION 3 NATIONAL CHAMPION)

          Bader(3 TIME PAC 10 CHAMP AND 2 TIME D-1 ALL AMERICAN FINISHING 4TH AND 7TH IN THE NATION)

          Matyushenko(2 TIME JUCO NATIONAL CHAMPION)

          DAN HENDERSON(OUTWRESTLED BY JAKE SHIELDS FOR 5 F’ING ROUNDS!!!)

          Dan Henderson will not score one takedown and his wrestling is nowhere near on the level of any of the guys I just mentioned. What are people smoking these days?

          • http://www.facebook.com/mark.mcdowall.14 Beaver

            RubeKegal how dare you use factual information in an argument on an MMA thread!!

            You also have to remember Jones is 5″ taller and has a 13.5″ reach advantage on Hendo…oh yeah he’s also 17 years younger than him. Hendo has as much chance against Bones as any of his previous opponents do…which is slightly lower than a snowballs chance in hell!

          • billsboss

            Saying Henderson’s wrestling is no where near those guys makes you seem fairly ignorant considering he’s a Olympic wrestler. The reason Sheilds out wrestled Dan was because he was totally gassed after knocking him out twice in their fight and I think he underestimated him clearly not showing up in his best shape.

          • atmosphere

            @billsboss: while Hendo’s Greco Roman wrestling is world class, his MMA-applied wrestling is just above-average. While he primarily uses it defensively to keep the fight standing, he gets too comfortable striking and is often caught flat footed when opponents mix it up and goes for takedowns (see Shogun fight).

          • RubeKegal

            @billsboss, olympic Greco wrestler where you start in a tie up. Your ignorance doesn’t seem to realize that. Hendo gets taken down all the time. Guys like Bader, Hamill and Matyushenko are the ones taking people down, not getting taken down.

  • markrenton

    I am so sick and tired of everyone disrespecting Dan Henderson. Every MMA show and article about Jones is bringing up his rematch with Lyoto already. We know that Jones is the favorite… he is fighting a middleweight twice his age with 13 in less in reach. However, Hendo does HAVE the tools to beat Jon Jones and even bringing up that this is a “gimme fight, is ridiculous. This guy has fought and beat the best fighters in 3 weightclasses for over a decade now and has/will never been a gimme fight for anyone. Dropping Hendo with a punch will be tougher to do than any other opponent he has had. Winning the clinch and taking down Hendo will also be tougher than anyone he has fought before. IF Dan can work around the reach he can win this fight (big if), but you cannot count him out. Hendo has looked better than he has in years and he is fired up to fight Jones.

    Let’s go Dan!

    • smill0313

      I like your points, and one more to make is that Hendo has had to negate an opponents reach advantage HIS ENTIRE CAREER. Although Jones has a longer reach than anybody, its nothing new for Hendo. This will be Jones’ toughest test to date, for sure.

  • b-soc

    I don’t mean any disrespect to Dan. He’s a legend in the sport. The problem is he’s fighting someone who is as close to an MMA cyborg (and not the roider). Jones has no weakness and has destroyed the top 10. Dan has too many factors going against him. His two big weapons – wrestling and the right hand are negated by Jones wrestling. Bader is one of the best wrestlers at 205 and he couldn’t touch jones. With the right hand, Jones has a 15 inch reach advantage. Unless Jones hangs around in the danger zone, which is not going to happen, can’t see him landing it. I’ll get slaughtered in this forum for saying it, but I’ve said from the beginning that this is a gimme fight for Jon. Atmosphere has the scripting pretty accurate IMO.

    • smill0313

      I like your arguement but Bader wishes he was half the wrestler that Hendo is. Totally on a different level. Bader has NCAA quality wrestling, Hendo has OLYMPIC quality wrestling. That is a huge difference in skill. Not that it will probably matter much against Jones.

      • b-soc

        I see your point as well. I’m thinking more in terms of size and power. Pound for pound, I probably can’t list a better wrestler in MMA than Dan Henderson. But these 205ers such as Ryan Bader and others are much bigger than Dan. Dan is one of those guys that would be well served at a 195 division like Rich Franklin. All that said, I agree, it won’t make a difference against Jones.

      • RubeKegal

        Bader is a better wrestler than Hendo and it’s not even debatable.

        One man has taken down Ryan Bader in his career and it is Jon Jones.

        Guys who took down Hendo:

        Shields(repeatedly…it was a clinic)
        Shogun
        Palhares
        Vitor
        Kazuo Misaki
        Murilo Bustamante
        Rogerio Nogueira

        These guys aren’t even wrestlers.

        • phrankthetank

          Henderson also started fighting while jones was in elementary school and has been a champion wrestler since before bones was born. It’s kind of hard to compare the two. Also, the shields fight was just a matter of being exhausted from a bad cut, it had nothing to do with wrestling ability.

        • markrenton

          You can say Bader is a better wrestler than Hendo, but it is not debatable who the better MMA fighter is. When you have one punch KO power and good hands, guys have to worry about more than just your wrestling (unlike Bader). The guys you named above may not be wrestlers, but they are all world class grapplers and BJJ specialists.

          The style of wrestling Jones uses is very similar to the style of wrestling that Hendo uses, which is what makes it interesting. Jones works from the clinch and uses lots of trips and throws to get guys to the ground. As a Greco-Roman OLYMPIAN, this is also Dan’s strong point. I understand that Hendo is the clear underdog going into this fight, but he is still the toughest guy to finish that Jones has ever fought.

    • Lesnardo

      Wouldn’t say a gimme fight but definitely a fight that is not entirely meaningful. What would beating Hendo do for Jones? Just another big name on his resume on top of other big names. Jones has beaten enough big names (4 of them in the last year or so!) that I am not sure what marginal benefit there would be for beating Hendo.

      • phrankthetank

        Well in that sense what does fighting anyone do for bones? He’s beaten all of the top contenders at 205.

  • maddawgmar

    Henderson is a “gimmie fight” for no man. Bottom line.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001875987914 johnlee

    YES, it’s a gimme. As much of a gimme as you can get for a championship fight. Let me preface by saying that Henderson IS an all-time great. But when you really examine what is happening here, Jones gets a relatively easy night here.

    Look at Hendo and what has precipitated his re-emergence, since a loss to JAKE F’n SHIELDS. Beat up a couple of classic ham & egger (Babalu, Feijao), and he beat a couple of aging stars (Fedor, Rua). The biggest factor that will be his ultimate demise is his gas tank. No 41-year old has the gas tank to hang at this level of fighting for long.

    So he has to get to Jones quick; otherwise he’s a sitting duck. The problem is, as we know, Greg Jackson is notorious for making his guys overly cautious (to the point of boredom). Jones will never get into range for Hendo to apply his signature H-bomb to Jones’ chin. Jones will pick his spots for a round or two, effectively tiring his older opponent. After an amount of time of slowly imposing his will, Hendo’s ONE chance (h-bomb) will be nullified due to fatigue. And then–it’s all she wrote.

    So… yes, it is a gimme. (Machida could be interesting next though.)

    • smill0313

      I love Machida, but if Hendo is a gimme (he’s not), so is Machida, whose ass Jones ALREADY handed back to him.

      • RubeKegal

        smill I respect that you’re a Hendo fan. I myself am a Hendo fan…honest to God, my 3 fav’s are Pulver Hendo and Hughes, but Machida is the only guy to beat Bones in a round. You will eat your words soon unfortunately, but i’m going to be placing a wager on Bones that way I win either way.

  • Jmoney

    takes only 1 mistake and it’s lights out… hendo has nothing to lose and I hope he KO’s bones jones

    • RubeKegal

      yawn…and if he was fighting Tank Abbott, would it take “only one mistake”? Hendo is going to look like Tank Abbott in this fight.

      • Booker T

        Right on Rube.

  • MikeMc1983

    There’s a part of me that hopes hendo thinks he has less of a chance than he does. One difference I think there is between hendo and Jon’s other opponents is I don’t believe hendo is as afraid of being finished. He’s one of few that usually seems willing to take shots to give his own.
    If he doesn’t believe he can go the distance and win, maybe hendo will actually press the action. Jon doesnt usually offer up any offense when a guy aggressively moves in on him. He covers and tries to circle out. Maybe it could go the way of the fedor fight. If hendo presses hard, cuts the cage, then he’ll be within range.
    He probably couldn’t do that for more than 2 & 1/2 rounds without gassing so it’s risky, but if he doesn’t think he can win a long fight, maybe he’ll chance it.

  • Booker T

    Jones will kick Hendo’s butt. Hendo lost to that wussy Shields two years ago. Easy, easy fight for Jones. No brainer!

  • Booker T

    Hendo couldn’t even beat Silva and he lost to Rampage. He’s over rated big time.

    • billsboss

      Couldn’t even beat silva huh? You’re right Henderson must be lousy if he can’t do that lol you’re a genius

  • Booker T

    Watch out for Hendo’s right hand! Give me a break.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mark.mcdowall.14 Beaver

    No disrespect to Hendo…he was a great fighter. But he’s no match for Jones. Jones is the new bread of fighter thats going to take a hell of a talent to beat.

    Hendo has had his time but this won’t do it.

    • Lesnardo

      “No disrespect to Hendo…he was a great fighter. But he’s no match for Jones. Jones is [REPRESENTS] the new bread [BREED] of fighter[S] that[']s going to take a hell of a talent to beat.

      Hendo has had his time but this won’t do it.”

      Hendo was not a great fighter in the past, albeit a good one. Only recently did he become a great fighter. I don’t think he was ever in the top 5 or 10 in the LHW division during his PRIDE days. It’s only after he had developed the H-Bomb that he became a a threat at 205. At 185 he was always top 5.

      • phrankthetank

        He won 2 belts to close out his pride days. I’d say that puts him top 5. But you’re right, the ‘h bomb’ is a fairly new phenomenon. Rare to see a fighter develop a KO punch so late in his career.