When news broke that Dan Henderson turned down a fight with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, many had questions why the former Olympian wouldn't want to rematch Lil Nog. Instead, Nogueira is booked to fight Alexander Gustafsson at the UFC's first card in Sweden.
Henderson spoke with Stephen Quadros and Jeff Dotseth of Clinch Gear Radio (Sirius 94 XM 208) to address why he turned down the fight with Nogueira:
"I was under the impression that [Dana White] was still kinda on the fence on whether he was gonna put me in front of Rashad (Evans) or not. That's assuming Rashad wins. He did offer me a fight with little Nogueira and I didn't think the fans would be interested in that fight and it's not as much time as I'd like to prepare for a five round fight so I told him I'd wait and see what happens with the Rashad fight. I'd like to fight Jones now rather than if I took that fight with Little Nog. I wouldn't be fighting Jones for another eight, ninth months. I'm okay waiting a little bit. It was more about having the time to prepare and I did inquire to say hey, I would be interested in doing it if it was a three round fight, I could have time to prepare."
While I understand Henderson's perspective, knowing the UFC's history of dealing with fighters who turn down fights, it probably wasn't a great career decision. The Nogueira fight is a dangerous one for the 'Dangerous' one but following career trajectory, Henderson would come in an overwhelming favorite.
Hopefully the decision won't come back to bite him if the UFC chooses to give Rashad Evans or Phil Davis the fight with Jones first. It also shouldn't be a surprise to anyone if the UFC pushes the winner of Gustafsson/Nogueira into title contention. Dan Henderson is gambling with his career, hopefully he has a sure fire winner.