Dan Henderson confirmed that the expected Henderson vs. Fedor Strikeforce Super Fight is finally official. Hendo revealed the news on the latest Inside MMA broadcast along with a bold fight prediction. “I’m going to beat him up.”
The news finally seals the deal on a Henderson vs. Emelianenko fight that has been talked about for almost two months. News broke in April that both sides were heavily negotiating for a July Super Fight. It was further reported earlier this month that the fight had been agreed upon with an announcement forthcoming within 24-72 hours. Well it took a lot more than 24 hours but for the world of MMA it was certainly worth the wait.
Inside MMA hosts Kenny Rice and former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz had the first chance to ask Henderson about the fight. Although Henderson showed Fedor a lot of respect, he certainly didn’t appear to be intimidated by the Last Emperor.
“Ever since I signed with Strikeforce the media and the fans have been asking if I am going to fight him. For me, it was more of I had other guys to fight at the time and right now at light heavyweight in Strikeforce there is not really a clear opponent for me. With some of the guys getting injured and some of the guys losing, and Mousasi not having the best performance in his last fight either so, I think Fedor made the most sense for Strikeforce to have right now. He’s coming off of a couple of losses but I think that might motivate him to get in shape and I hope he comes in at his best. For me I want to fight the guy, challenge myself against the guy when he is at the top of his game.”
Ortiz told Dan Henderson on Inside MMA that he is a fan fighter and really respects him for stepping up against Fedor at heavyweight. Tito told Hendo that he thought the fight would be at light heavyweight , doesn’t think Fedor’s confidence is what it used to be, and that Henderson will expose him in the fight. Henderson was not only board with the assessment, but made a bold prediction that could give the M1 Global camp some bulletin board material leading into the July 30 clash.
“I know the fans wanted to see this but this is for me as well. I want to challenge myself and see how I am against somebody that is at his caliber with certain things and I feel pretty confident that I’m going to beat him up.”
Kenny Rice later asked Henderson if he will knock him out or if he thinks he need to submit Fedor to win.
I’ll definitely be trying to knock him out, but he’s tough, there is a good chance that this could be a decision. I don’t think I’ll submit him either, he is good on the ground, he is good at staying out of submissions most of the time, as am I, but I don’t think either one of us have been knocked out. We’ve been knocked silly a few times so it could go to the decision, but I plan on winning every round.
Henderson also broke an interesting piece of news on the broadcast. Henderson told the boys that the Fedor fight was his last fight on his Strikeforce contract. Henderson said that he has no further obligations to Strikeforce after this fight. In other words, Strikeforce signed Dan Henderson to a championship fight without a championship clause in his contract. It is almost unthinkable that they would make that mistake after being burnt a few months earlier by then middleweight champion Jake Shields.
And you want to know why the UFC cleaned house after buying Strikeforce?
A win here for Henderson could mean more than the personal satisfaction of beating one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time. A win would give him fantastic leverage in negotiating a new deal with Zuffa. I can’t imagine Dana White letting the Strikeforce light heavyweight champion and the guy that just defeated the great Fedor Emelianenko walk away from his company. Especially after it appears that the two have buried the hatchet.
At the same time I don’t think a loss would hurt Henderson’s current negotiating power. If Henderson loses, well he moved up in class, took a fight against a legend for the fans, and gave it his all. Henderson would still be Strikeforce light heavyweight champion and coming off an impressive two-fight winning streak in the division.
This also opens up the door for the first Strikeforce vs. UFC champion vs. champion fight. Dana White continues to cite current Strikeforce contracts and the current deal with Showtime and Strikeforce as the reason he can’t do UFC vs. Strikeforce fights. As a free agent Henderson would be free to sign a UFC contract and would be the first Strikeforce champion under a current UFC contract, making the fight inevitable. Whether it is against Jon Jones or Anderson Silva, Dan Henderson would be available for a return to the UFC.
Update: Scott Coker made the announcement official on Saturday afternoon. The fight will be at heavyweight and will air on Showtime.
Order the EA Sports: MMA Video Game featuring Dan Henderson, and Fedor Emelianenko by clicking here.
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