Dan Henderson's place in the light heavyweight division is complicated. One of the pound-for-pound all time greats, Henderson has fallen on some hard times in the past couple years. A great run in 2011 culminated in a failed title bout in 2012 (made even more so by the disaster that became UFC 151 after Henderson's withdrawl). 2013 saw Hendo pick up three straight losses, the first such skid of his career, before reasserting himself with a come from behind win against Mauricio Rua in March of this year. Now, he's looking to make the comeback a happen on a macro scale with a potential title elimination bout against Daniel Cormier, late next month at UFC 173. It's a big chance that comes sooner than expected for Henderson. As he explained on the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani.
I was expecting a fight in July, but just the way it happened. For whatever reason they moved it up to May. And it was just, you know, the quickest road back to that title shot. And no matter who I fight to get that title shot, I'm going to have to fight the top guys and that's what DC is. So, I'm gonna have to beat him anyway. Better while I'm still in shape than having to start all over and get in shape again.
But of course, short notice isn't the only narrative at play. Henderson's fight against Shogun was also very likely his last fight on TRT while working under Zuffa. As such, there were a few extra hoops to jump through with the Nevada State Athletic Commission in preparation for this fight.
You know, I think it was a whole lot with the... because it was a short turnaround and just making sure that everything was clear with me through the athletic commission.
In this case, "Making sure that everything was clear" came in the form of additional pre-fight drug testing to ensure that the synthetic testosterone he was being prescribed had fully cleared his system. All in all, it doesn't appear to be a process that is troubling Henderson too much, as he told Helwani:
You know, it's not a huge thing, but it just... I was taking the advice of my doctors to be healthy. And I felt better using the supplemental TRT that they gave me. But, it is what it is. I can't change the rules. Unfortunately it went down this way instead of conquering the whole problem of all the drug problems. But, yeah I think that they're gonna start trying to clean it up and have more random drug testing as well, from what I hear.
Hendo also talked about his search for a replacement supplement, saying that it's "a matter of finding something that has everything that's legal, rather than everything but one thing." He added that the need to get right back into training camp has hindered his search somewhat. He also offered up a very succinct gameplan as to how he could beat Daniel Cormier.
Punching him and outwrestling him. It's a simple thing with him.
There's probably more to it than that, but we may have to wait until UFC 173 to find out.
Check out the video for his thoughts on Jon Jones' fight with Glover Teixeira and what he'd do differently, as well as his motivation to continue fighting toward a title shot.