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« | Home | »

Can Strikeforce offer Dan Henderson enough fights to keep him around?

By Zach Arnold | January 13, 2011

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For reference, he will be fighting Feijao in the March-April time frame for the promotion’s Light Heavyweight title.

RON KRUCK: “Well, Dan, a spectacular way to end 2010 with your knockout of Renato “Babalu” Sobral. How satisfying was it to end the year with that type of win?”

DAN HENDERSON: “Uh, well, I guess it’s pretty satisfying and gratifying. It was something that obviously that I try to do every fight but you never know until it’s done and I knew I was capable of knocking him out. I knew he’d been knocked out before and you know I guess also for him to really call me out to want to fight me it made it even sweeter, I guess.”

RON KRUCK: “Nice. Let’s talk about 2011. When do you expect to fight again for Strikeforce and do you have an opponent?”

DAN HENDERSON: “This next six months I should be pretty active. I should probably have two fights before June, so my guess would be early March so we’ll see. I plan on fighting early March and training camp starting right at the first of the year and I’m not going to be too far out of shape, which is good. I’d rather have, you know, 2-3 fights back-to-back like that and stay in good shape rather than my last two fights, I’ve had 10 months in between, 9 months in between and you know it’s just a little tougher to get back in shape if you’ve not done anything for 4-5 months and I typically train when I’m at home no matter what if I’ve got something coming up, but it’s not the same. I’m usually in here (Team Quest) trying to get my guys ready, roll with them a little bit, but I’m not as intense as I am when I’m training for my fight.”

RON KRUCK: “If you do fight two more times, would that end your Strikeforce commitment and if so, would you like to re-sign with the promotion?”

DAN HENDERSON: “Uh, yeah, I have two more fights on my Strikeforce deal and yeah, I’d possibly would definitely re-sign with Strikeforce. I’ve really been happy there and uh, you know, but you never know how things work out. My goal is to make sure I win these next two fights, you know, and possibly re-sign a deal before the end of my deal, who knows? I’m not worried about it. I know that I want to fight for 2-to-3 more years, 6-7 fights, maybe more even. 10 years ago I said I was only going to fight for maybe one more year, so this is the truth and when I had that press conference in PRIDE after I was done wrestling I wanted to maybe only fight for one more year, that’s how my body felt back then. I was really worn out from wrestling and now I’ve really got a lot smarter way of training, I’m getting older but I’m smarter about it with MMA and I’m not competing really as much as I did when I wrestled.”

RON KRUCK: “Dan, you are the only guy in major Mixed Martial Arts promotions to hold titles simultaneously in two different weight classes. You’ve gone back and forth here in the past few years in fighting in two different weight classes. What should we expect in 2011, do you have a preference on where you want to fight?”

DAN HENDERSON: “Uh, not too much you know. I had a little trouble when I fought Jake Shields with my weight and injuries going into that, so I got that all straightened out and, you know, typically I don’t have too tough of a time making 185. Typically I don’t mind that weight at all, but it is nicer to eat all the way through training camp and not have to worry about it and even if I’m the smaller guy, I never feel small. Not mentally I don’t feel small. I feel my style’s always been where I’m not lifting the guy’s weight so much, I’m not picking him up with double-legs and slamming him. I’m more hanging on. I’m making them carry my weight a little more and a little more technical with things control-wise, so really I don’t notice being smaller as much. Some of these guys have the style of picking guys up or carrying their weight a lot more, it’s definitely a feeling your weight difference but I’ve never felt small in any fight against heavyweights. I don’t think about it. I’m out there to win. I got to do what it takes to win and if I don’t want to be underneath a guy because he’s bigger I won’t stay underneath him but it doesn’t mean I feel small. You got to be smart with things and still with that being said, I’ll probably stay at 205 for a little bit. My next fight will definitely be at 205.”

RON KRUCK: “Do you expect that next fight to be for the title and you challenge Feijao?”

DAN HENDERSON: “Uh, it’s a good possibility to have that fight there. I mean that’s what was talked about before my Babalu fight, the winner gets a title fight but nothing’s confirmed and you know it’s just a matter of me waiting and seeing. There’s some top guys, really tough guys at 205 now in Strikeforce so no matter what or who I’m fighting, it’s going to be definitely be one of the top guys. And that’s all I want, you know. Obviously I’d rather fight for the title and be the top guy but, you know, I think there’s some other interesting match-ups for me there as well if that’s what it is and fights that I can get excited about.”

Topics: Media, MMA, StrikeForce, Zach Arnold | 20 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

20 Responses to “Can Strikeforce offer Dan Henderson enough fights to keep him around?”

  1. 45 Huddle says:

    1) It amazes me that we are less then 2 months away from a possible March card and Strikeforce still does have a) Their main event signed, and b) The event officially announced.

    2) I would be shocked if Scott Coker didn’t have a championship clause in Dan Henderson’s contract. I would be shocked if Dan Henderson’s management allowed him to have a championship clause in his contract knowing if he was champion it could kill his ability to get into a bidding war again once his contract is up. If he wins the title, I guess we will find out sooner who the dumber of the 2 parties are….

    3) It really makes it hard to care about this LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT “title” fight when the challenger lost to a Welterweight 2 fights ago. Let’s be honest, Dan Henderson was never a huge draw. When he main evented UFC PPV’s, they were never considered bigger events. That loss to Shields hurt his drawing power even more.

    • Steve4192 says:

      “When he main evented UFC PPV’s, they were never considered bigger events”


      Henderson headlined the most watched event in the history of the UFC (LHW unification bout versus Rampage) and stole the show at the biggest PPV in UFC history (with his KO of Bisping).

      I’d say he was a pretty big deal.

      • 45 Huddle says:


        Rampage got those viewers in. That and the UFC name brand. It was the first time thye did a title fight on TV. It would have drew big numbers regardless.

        When Dan Henderson was a coach on TUF, the ratings were nothing special.

        When Dan Henderson was on CBS…. And this was his first fight after KO’ing Michael Bisping, the ratings were not very good.

        When Dan Henderson headlined a PPV with Rich Franklin, the buyrates were on the lower end of a typical UFC PPV.

        When Dan Henderson fought Renato Sobral in the main event on a Showtime card, the ratings were nothing special.

        History hows Dan Henderson is not a big draw.


  2. Mark says:

    Dan’s prime years were in Japan, though, so that’s not a totally fair comparison, since it’s not like PRIDE was loaded with big American stars in the Middleweight division when he was at his best in 2000-04: PRIDE wanted a Brazil vs. Japan narrative mainly back then.

    I’m not saying he would have been Brock Lesnar level in 2003, but he certainly would have fought Chuck Liddell or Tito Ortiz if he was in UFC instead of PRIDE back then. And those fights would have done respectable for the time.

    I think whether there would be a bidding war for him depends on what happens with Chael Sonnen. They certainly don’t need him at 205, but if Sonnen is going to be a headcase or MIA for a while, then certainly he’d be great to have at 185.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      I don’t think Chael Sonnen is even part of the equation on the UFC signing Dan Henderson back.

      I think if Henderson wins his next 2 fights and is Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion without a champions clause, he will get a high money offer from the UFC just to mess with Strikeforce. Probably more in line with what Henderson wanted to begin with.

      Think of it this way…. Henderson would have just beaten Sobral, Cavalcante, and probably Mousasi. So not only would the UFC be stealing away another SF champion for the second year in a row…. But they would also be getting a guy who virtually cleared out SF’s already thin division.

      And even if the UFC doesn’t sign him back…. Henderson is left with basically no challengers and with a bigger contract…. One that based on his ability to draw ratings and tickets…. He really isn’t worth….

  3. 45 Huddle says:

    All Quarterfinal and Semifinal Strikeforce Grand Prix fights are 3 rounds. Overeem’s title will not be on the line.

    Strikeforce finds a way to screw up everything.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      According to Gross:

      “Coker’s position that SF couldn’t make 5R fights because it was too difficult with different regulators is ridiculous. California, N.J., Missouri, Tennessee told me 5R fights were fine by them. All said they had not been approached by Strikeforce re: it.”

      It also means Coker got caught lying today as he said he tried to make all fights 5 rounds but was running into issues with the commissions.

      This guy is unreal…

      • 45 Huddle says:

        And the more I think about it (as I respond to myself some more)….. The tournament brackets made sense when the title was on the line each round.

        It doesn’t make sense when all this tournament does is lead to a #1 contender. Especially when the champion is in the tournament.

  4. Coyote says:

    But if you see, the clothing company of Hendo “Clinch Gear” is the main sponsor of allmost everyone of the #Strikeforce fighter’s (Including Fedor).

    I think, now he’s thinking in a soon retirement. Good that he’s a great bussiness man, not like guys like Marc Coleman or Jens Pulver who leave the sport with no plans for the future.

    Maybe later of the fight vs Fejiao, Dan can fight the winner of Monson vs “King Mo”. But i dont believe Hendo is gonna take easily Fejiao’s crown.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      You do realize that Strikeforce pushed basically no merchendise compared to the UFC, right?

      His “brand” would have been much better off if he was still fighting in the UFC….

      • Coyote says:

        Well, at least he’s in better position than other fighter’s, that get cut from the “BIG” seudo league.

        Maybe yeah, maybe not. How you can trust and a company that is not loyal to anyone.

        At the end, they are bussines man too. And thats something we dont understand.

        • Steve4192 says:

          “How you can trust and a company that is not loyal to anyone.”

          The UFC is VERY loyal to the guys who stick with them. Guys like Hughes, Franklin, Liddell, Griffin, & Bonnar are all going to be suckling from the Zuffa teat long after their fighting careers are over. Hendo had a chance to join that group but chose to make a grab for the brass ring. Nothing wrong with that, but I suspect he is not entirely happy with how things have turned out.

        • And then you have guys like Jens Pulver who think they have a gig for life and turn out to be looking at a future of club fights. To say with certainty that Henderson was rejecting permanent employment is crazy.

        • Steve4192 says:

          I didn’t say it with certainty. I said he had a chance. I agree he wasn’t a shoe-in for the Bonnar treatment, but it was a possibility.

          I don’t blame him for taking a shot at the brass ring, but it certainly didn’t work out like he thought. He had visions of major sponsorship income on CBS, a shiny new belt, Clinch Gear getting all kinds of airtime on broadcast television, and getting consistent work. What he got instead was the CBS deal imploded, he got embarrased by a blown-up welterweight, and then sat idle for nearly a year waiting for a CBS show that never materialized. He went from being one of the hottest commodities in MMA post-UFC 100 to being stuck taking a decade-old rematch that was watched by 400K people just a little over one year later.

          I’m sure he has had second thoughts, even if he won’t admit it publicly.

        • If he fought again at 185 and got beaten by a second tier guy at the weight in the UFC, would he be in any better a position? Its like arguing that Tim Sylvia made a bad move because if he just won his next 5 fights and Dana hadn’t trimmed his pay for losing, he would have actually made more (n/c any potential interest/investment earnings from the single victory of course).

  5. While I think the lack of 5 rounders is unfortunate, I could care less about what the Strikeforce title means. What means something is the linear title. If Overeem wins out, then its irrelevant that they weren’t title fights to me.

    • EJ says:

      The linear title means about as much as Fedor’s upside down Wamma belt. People need to stop with that nonsense to try and justify trying to rank whoever wins the tourney over Cain. Who until he losses is the clear number 1 fighter at HW and holding the only belt that matters.

      • Its not about “justifying ranking someone over Cain”. I would bet on Cain to beat Werdum in an heartbeat. Werdum is the linear champ.

        • edub says:

          That’s a good point.

          Carlos Baldomir was once the linear champ in one of the most storied divisions in boxing’s history.

        • Its not like Baldomir is the only mediocre champion in MMA or boxing history. Matt Serra was my #1 welterweight for months and months and that was true for probably the majority. Did I think he could keep the title? No. But he beat GSP, and if you beat the man, you’re the man.


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