UFC President Dana White Cracks Open the Door to Dan Henderson’s Octagon Return

August 4, 2011
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UFC president Dana White is open to bringing Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Dan Henderson back to the UFC.

Henderson, who most recently defeated Fedor Emelianenko by first-round technical knockout, fought the last fight of his contract with the win last Saturday night in Chicago.

Shortly after the UFC 133 pre-fight press conference, White commented on the potential to bring Henderson to the UFC for a third go-around.

“We’ll see what happens,” White said on Thursday in Philadelphia. “‘Hendo and I have had some history in dealing. We’ll see if we can figure something out and get him back in the UFC.”

Henderson last fought in the UFC in 2009 when he made a highlight reel knockout out of Michael Bisping at UFC 100. Shortly after that fight, failed contract negotiations with UFC representatives led to Henderson leaving the UFC and signing with industry’s number-two, Strikeforce.

Earlier this year, Zuffa LLC, the parent company of the UFC, bought Strikeforce and Henderson returned to fighting with a Zuffa-owned contract, but continued to compete on Strikeforce cards.

White downplayed any idea that he was never interested in signing the Team Quest fighter out of Temecula, Calif., giving the impression that, in contract negotiations, sometimes you win some and sometimes you lose some.

“It’s not that I’ve never been interested in Henderson,” White proclaimed. “Listen, you can come to deals with guys and you can’t.”

Henderson is currently on a three-fight win-streak after failing to make his bid for the Strikeforce middleweight title with a loss to then-champion Jake Shields in April of 2010. After returning to light heavyweight with a knockout win over Renato “Babalu” Sobral, “Hendo” made headlines with another knockout win, this time over light heavyweight champion Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante. Henderson earned the gold and, shortly after, speculation began to spin about a potential super-fight between he and former Pride heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko.

The bout came to fruition and on July 30. The two met, but not for long. Henderson took out the heavyweight legend with a fierce uppercut that sent him face-planting to the canvas in the first round.

For now, Henderson is on vacation, but negotiations with Zuffa about a potential return to the Las Vegas-based fight promotion, or at least Strikeforce, are sure to be on the horizon.

The possible re-signing of Henderson comes on the same day White announced that Zuffa would begin the process of cutting Fedor Emelianenko from Strikeforce.

Got something to say? Weigh in with a thought of your own in the comments section below.

Erik Fontanez is a staff writer for MMAWeekly.com.
@Erik_Fontanez on Twitter or e-mail Erik a question or comment.

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  • bajafox

    Who’s left in SF for him to face? There aren’t very many potential match ups for Hendo in SF that will make the general MMA fan want to watch

  • collideoverme


  • devine22

    hopefully they give him a fair shot in the ufc this time around! I heard that The Spider wouldnt fight him again an that dan asked for more money an they {Dana} didnt agree??

  • devine22

    I got some lead pipe locks for you!!1
    Evans over Tito
    Vitor over Yama
    Jorge over Phillippou
    Pyle over MacDonald
    Hamill,Mendes an Brown also win

  • Darren2112

    Maybe the talk should be to send some UFC guys over to Strikeforce instead of it always being the other way around.

    Some guys who might not be first in line for a title shot but could do well at Strikeforce. How about Pettis vs Milendez, or Clay vs Milendez. I would love to see those fights.

    How about sending that WW kid, Rick Stroy to fight in SF. Match him up with someone else like Koscheck or Swick or Thiago for the SF WW title.

    I think if SF is going to survive even for two more years (until the Showtime deal expires), they need to create good match ups and that means the talent exchange may have to be two way.

    • bajafox

      What a great idea, everyone is always talking about SF guys moving over to the UFC, but never the other way. The only thing that could stop that from happening is if the major plan is to phase out the SF banner altogether.

      But if they would do something like MLB, where they have the Majors and the Minors, it would actually work out pretty good. People like Joe Daddy who just got cut by the UFC might have some new life in SF, maybe put some wins together and eventually work his way back into the UFC.

  • bajafox

    To add to that, I can see how the fighters would see it as a “demotion” but in this day and age, I’d take a demotion over a lay off any day of the week