clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Career of Dan Henderson

Henderson Opponent Opponent Score
43 Jackson 59 (L - dec)
78 W. Silva 30
62 Belfort 37
54 Misaki 54 (L - dec)
73 Misaki 31
58 Bustamante 42
86 Gono 10
100 Chonan 0
38 Little Nog 87 (L - sub)
54 Kondo 55
99 Nakamura 2
100 Bustamante 0
92 Oyama 28
29 Big Nog 73 (L - sub)
38 Arona 58 (L - dec)
62 Ninja Rua 44
90 Shoji 26
92 Renzo G. 37
42 W. Silva 65 (L - dec)
61 Newton 50
56 Goes 48
98 E. Smith 12
64 de Souza 24
FightMetric has done a career retrospective on Dan Henderson this is a companion to the one for Anderson Silva that I blogged about a while back. This one is also accompanied by a piece on Sherdog by Fightmetric's Rami Genauer.

They didn't include Henderson's five wins in the 1999 RINGS King of Kings tourny which makes sense because that event really limited striking on the ground. That's too bad because winning that tournament is one of Henderson's greatest claims to fame -- among those he beat on the way to that title were Big Nog, Babalu Sobral, and Gilbert Yvel and the tournament included a who's who of the best in MMA at the time including Tsuyoshi Kohsaka, Renzo Gracie, Maurice Smith, and Kiyoshi Tamura.Here's a video highlight reel of Dan's wins from that tournament.

These stats do give you a feel for how uneven Henderson has been over the course of his career. From the beat downs he gave Chonan, Gono, Nakamura, Oyama and Bustamante I, to the much tougher but still dominant fights against Wanderlei, Belfort, Misaki I, and Bustamante II, to the flat performances against Misaki II or Kondo.

The ominous thing for tonight's fight is how erratic Henderson has been at 185. If the Dan Henderson that struggled with Murilo Bustamante and Kazuo Misaki shows up tonight, he'll be in a world of hurt against Anderson Silva.

Genauer also points out Henderson's tendency to get dropped by punches, despite his strong chin. He's been dropped by strikes six times and not just against Wanderlei and Rampage either -- Carlos Newton and Akira Shoji both dropped Dan. But as you can see on the chart -- Henderson has never been KO'd or TKO'd, so he's very resiliant and famous for his iron chin.

Rami does point out some stats that make a very strong case for Henderson's chances though:

Dangerous Dan hits hard, owns the clinch and executes takedowns with ease. Hitting hard on the feet is what he does best, so it's only natural for him to roll with that natural ability. Whereas most strikers use a lead jab to keep opponents at bay or to start off a one-two combination, Henderson drops the one and skips right to the power strikes. Of the 753 head strikes he has attempted on the feet during his career, 647 of them have been power shots, or 86 percent. The average fighter only throws power strikes 33 percent of the time. As for accuracy, that's where the clinch comes into play. Using a Greco-Roman body lock or pressing his opponent against the fence, ropes or corner, Henderson controls the positioning into almost a lull before exploding with more powerful strikes. As opposed to his striking at a distance, where Henderson connects on about 29 percent of strikes, his clinch striking accuracy is close to 70 percent. This is remarkable because the power-to-jab proportion is still about 86 percent. This takes clinch effectiveness to a new level.

As if having to deal with Henderson's striking effectiveness in the clinch wasn't bad enough, his takedown skills from that position are superb. While his success rate with takedown shots from the outside stands at a pedestrian 29 percent, Henderson has landed 32 of the 40 clinch takedowns he's attempted. An 80 percent success rate is simply unheard of.

It's getting close, I can't wait for the fight!

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Bloody Elbow Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your MMA and UFC news from Bloody Elbow