When Dan Henderson suffered a knee injury that kept him out of his UFC 141 title shot against Jon Jones, I don't think Dan or anyone else really thought that it would be close to another year before he'd be able to even be put back into discussions as a Jones opponent. But that's what has happened with the UFC's decision to put Jones opposite Chael Sonnen on this upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter.
After the show films, the coaches are expected to meet in late April. And to make matters even worse for Henderson, Jones is talking about wanting to move up to heavyweight in 2013, so Dan may never get his shot at the reigning 205 pound champion.
The Sonnen vs. Jones fight has been loudly criticized by many fans and even fighters on the UFC roster. Sonnen is 2-2 in his last four fights, both losses (including his last fight) coming to UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva. Dana White and many others also scored Sonnen's fight with Michael Bisping for Bisping, meaning Sonnen is getting a title shot in a higher weight class on the strength of only one dominant victory in his last four fights.
It's something that Dan has not been shy to address and he did it again yesterday.
"I absolutely think it was a bad decision for the sport," he said on Wednesday's edition of The MMA Hour. "It just makes the sport lose a little bit of integrity."
To be fair, Henderson said he didn't begrudge Sonnen taking the opportunity -- "Someone offers him a fight and great opportunity like that, why wouldn’t he take it?" he said -- and even said that he'd be happy to help Sonnen train for the bout, but said from a pure sporting standpoint, the fight makes no sense. Which leads him, like most, to the conclusion that the decision was made for entertainment reasons.
"I understand that [Dana White] does what he does for the UFC and always has, first and foremost," he said. "He tries to accommodate the fighters as he can, but it’s more about saving the ratings on The Ultimate Fighter show, and I understand that."
Nothing is going to change for the plans unless Chael or Jones gets hurt. So in the end it doesn't matter what Henderson, the media or the fans think. It's going down exactly how Dana wants it.