Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
UFC lightweight and former Pride and Strikeforce Dan Henderson discusses everything from the injury that forced him out of UFC 151, his UFC 157 opponent Lyoto Machida, and the praise he still gets for knocking out Michael Bisping.
February 23rd will see the return of Dan Henderson, who hasn't competed in the octagon for over 14 months. He was expected to take on Jon Jones at UFC 151 for the light heavyweight title, but that obviously fell through and the card was subsequently canceled. In an interview with MMA Fighting, Henderson expressed his disappointment at not being able to compete on the card:
"It was the first time I've ever had to pull out of a fight in 15 years," said Henderson, who is the only man to simultaneously hold two weight-class titles in a major organization. "So, yeah, it sucked."
"I was still thinking I was maybe going to be able to go out there and go on, but I hadn't tested [his knee] in a couple weeks," Henderson said. "Because everyone, my doctors and physical therapists and everyone told me that heals fast, and you should be able to be good. I stayed off it for 2-3 weeks just doing cross training and really not doing much, and you know, I had to test it out and pretty much everyone in my camp was telling me ‘don't do it.' I still wanted to, obviously."
He also said that Dana White was understanding at the time:
"He never said a word to me, he was extremely understanding of what happened," Henderson said. "He obviously had been there before with other fights that had to be canceled, but at the time, this was a week before the fight, this was the worst thing that could happen and at the time I had no idea he was thinking of canceling the fight."
"I'm glad I only have to fight him for three rounds, not five," said Henderson. "There's no secrets to what Machida does. The game plan's to go in there and get the knockout, not let it go to the judges."
After talking of his confusion as to why Chael Sonnen is not getting the shot at Jones, he closed out the interview with a parting shot at the man he destroyed at UFC 100. None other than Michael Bisping:
"Not a day goes by where someone doesn't thank me for the Bisping knockout," said Henderson. "I've never had any other opponent I ever fought where people were like ‘please beat him up' and ‘please shut this guy up.' Usually they compliment me for something I did, not because the other guy is an a------."