One of the more overlooked aspects of the UFC 151 cancellation is the fact that Dan Henderson, the original opponent for UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, has been sidelined.
It was his injury, in fact, that eventually culminated in Jones being offered Chael Sonnen as a replacement at UFC 151, turning down the fight with Sonnen, and UFC president Dana White cancelling the entire event.
Henderson’s injury isn’t severe, but it’s bad enough that it hampered his ability to perform at a respectable level, and enough to put him out of commission for the next couple months.
“I had a slight tear in my MCL and it was real unstable. No surgery is needed, luckily, but just got to immobilize it and ice it a lot for the next three or four weeks and then rehab it a little bit,” Henderson told AXS TV’s Inside MMA on Monday night. “Hopefully, I’d be 100-percent they said in three to four months.
“I’m just bummed out that it had to come to withdrawing from the fight.”
Henderson tried to tough it out, training with the MCL tear for a couple of weeks before coming to the realization that he wasn’t going to improve enough to stay in the fight and perform at an acceptable level.
What happens from here, Henderson doesn’t really know.
He’s hoping to stay at the top of the list for a shot at the winner of the UFC 152 headliner between Jones and his new opponent, Vitor Belfort, but hasn’t even broached the subject with UFC officials yet.
“I don’t know (if I’ll still get the title shot). I didn’t ask what was gonna happen if I didn’t take the fight,” relayed Henderson. “It wasn’t going to be a part of my decision making process. I wanted to make sure I made the right decision for the right reasons. I still don’t know what’s gonna happen. I can only hope that I’m still in line for that title shot.”
Whether a title shot is in his immediate future or not upon returning from the knee injury, Henderson thinks that he should be ready to get back in the Octagon by year’s end.
“I’d like to shoot for that Dec. 29 show.”