Dan Henderson’s knee injury days before UFC 151 sent the light heavyweight division into a tailspin. Where does Henderson fit into the picture once he returns? According to Hendo, it won’t be in a championship fight.
[adinserter name=”366 right”]Dan Henderson has sat on the sidelines the last few weeks and watched his UFC light heavyweight title opportunity go up in smoke. UFC president Dana White threw the entire division for a loop when he named Chael Sonnen, a fighter who hasn’t fought in the division in years, as the number-one contender. Henderson now confirms that unlike Sonnen, he will indeed have to fight to get his title shot.
Henderson joined Ariel Helwani on the MMA Hour for a revealing interview this past week. Henderson had some interesting things to say to the MMA reporter including what is next in his UFC career. Helwani asked Henderson about a rumored fight against Lyoto Machida which is now no longer just a rumor.
“I think that’s what’s being talked about,” he said. “We’ll wait and see. I don’t think it’s a secret. Dana already announced he was going to try to put him and me together.”
Helwani indicated that the fight could come as soon as UFC’s Super Bowl weekend show. That would stack the show with three marquee fights if you include Edgar vs. Aldo and the rumored Little Nog vs. Rashad Evans fights. My hunch is that either the Henderson or Evans fight moves off of the event but as of now that appears to be the working plan.
It is a really tricky situation here when you look at how this whole UFC 151 situation played out. Henderson earned his title shot with the win over Shogun Rua and hasn’t lost a fight in the UFC in years. Taking the title shot away from a guy due to injury sends a mixed message and isn’t really fair. On the other hand, Henderson really screwed the company by withholding his injury status for a reported two weeks. This is absolutely a punishment to Henderson and at the end of the day, I don’t know how fair that is yet the show must go on.
Interestingly enough Dave Meltzer recently reported on his F4Wonline.com podcast that the working plan was for the UFC to go with Jones vs. Henderson in February. Jones wouldn’t have been medically ready to go which put the fight on ice. Henderson told Helwani he would have coached opposite of Jones on TUF if asked. In hindsight you have to really wonder if Sonnen vs. Jones was a necessary evil at all.
[adinserter name=”366 left”]Henderson vs. Machida is certainly an interesting fight. On paper you’d have to favor Machida. On the other hand, who has Machida beaten lately that was an elite fighter? An aging Randy Couture and overrated Ryan Bader would be it. Until someone stops Henderson I’d favor him in the fight. I just think that when people analyze Machida they are breaking down the Machida of old and not the Machida of the present.
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