At a crossroads: Where does the legendary Dan Henderson go from here?

At a crossroads: Where does the legendary Dan Henderson go from here?

24
SHARE

Legendary former Pride and Strikeforce champion Dan Henderson, at 42 years old, is no doubt nearing the end of his illustrious career. His quest to gain the one belt that has eluded him was, at the very least, put on hold when he lost a close but critically maligned bout versus Lyoto Machida at UFC 157.

 

After the fight, Hendo stated that he war far from finished and still has a lot of goals left in MMA to accomplish.

 

That may be true, but just how long will Dan Henderson continue to step into the Octagon? His career has been focused on simply fighting the best and toughest fighters on the planet. Sure, he took a few losses here and there, but he has always stepped up to the challenge.

 

He may have started the windfall that ruined UFC 151 (perhaps his last shot at a UFC belt) by not informing Dana White of his partially torn MCL, but he was trying to fight Jon Jones on an extremely unhealthy knee. That’s just a testament to his toughness.

 

But his knee was taped up last Saturday, and he may not have been at one hundred percent. He appeared less aggressive. That may be a testament to the quick and elusive style of Lyoto Machida, or it may be a downside of Hendo’s increasing age. Maybe it’s a mix of both. Either way, tons of publicity has been made of Hendo’s TRT use, but even that could not nurse him back to health for this fight. And he injured the knee last August.

 

So with that said, it’s tough to say where Dan Henderson goes from here. A fight back to a title shot at Light Heavyweight is going to be tough with contenders like Machida, Alexander Gustafsson, and even Glover Teixeira in line for a shot ahead of him. I don’t think Henderson is done for certain, but he is at a crossroads.

 

Dan Henderson is looking to return sooner than later after last fighting in November of 2011, pinpointing an early summer return. Rumors today have had him slated for an upcoming bout with Rashad Evans. That could be a great bout between two aging former champions who are in dire need of a win to stay relevant. It would be a good co-main event for a summer card, but both fighters would have to show up in considerably better shape than they did for their most recent bouts.

 

In an age where your window for a title opportunity grows ever smaller in the constantly changing UFC, Hendo may have lost his last chance to complete his title trilogy. The only way I see him returning to that epic stage is to beat at least two contenders on par with fighters like Evans (and via KO) to send a strong message to Dana White. He also needs to be fully healed from his injuries as well. At his age, that appears tougher and tougher to achieve.

 

Hendo still has some gas in the tank. Even if he were to call it a career right now, his accomplishments will have been met by few, if any. He was always will to fight anyone, anywhere, and still possesses some of, if not the best one-punch KO power in MMA. Does he have enough left for a last ditch effort at his coveted UFC belt?

Follow LowkickMMA.com on
   
A huge fan of the sport since 1995, I love writing all aspects of the fight game. As Chief Editor of LowKick MMA, I strive to stay on the cutting edge of all things MMA related.
  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/KeithFarrell KeithFarrell

    One of the best ever, he can still stay around and beat nearly every guy he faces but when it comes to guys like Machida, Jones or Anderson Silva, who are smart and quick enough to stay away from the h-bomb.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/hatch1921 hatch1921

    I wonder if Dan has that photo poster size over his bed? LOL

    Dan performs at his best when the opponent engages him. That isn't Machida's style. Which… made for a BORING fight but it is what it is.

    Would like to see him take on Glover… now that would be a battle.

    Hatch
    I think he has a few more fights left in him… still in great shape… the knee didn't appear to be bothering him. There was one moment when Machida hit him with an inside leg kick and caused him to bow the damaged knee… he just pressed on.

    • http://lowkickmma.com/author/falcon4917 falcon4917

      Dan apparently performs his best on TRT actually. He was one of my favs, but he needs to fight at his own calliber if he needs TRT at this level.

      • http://lowkickmma.com/author/FoetusFarm FoetusFarm

        i would like to see you up against the worlds best fighters when your 42 after taking years of surgeries and damage to your body. then you have the right to criticise him. its not like hes 20 and abusing it for an unfair advantage

        • http://lowkickmma.com/author/falcon4917 falcon4917

          Well I haven't grown up in hitlers' shoes either but I sure will critisize him. I probably would not be able to compete and that is my point, he shouldn't be competeing if he needs TRT to do so.

          • http://lowkickmma.com/author/FoetusFarm FoetusFarm

            yeah because an athlete and a genocidal dictator are the same?
            so what your saying is that dan henderson should retire because there is a new way of helping athletes keep their testosterone levels the way they were in their young days, which he uses so his fans can see him fight a few more years before he goes.

          • http://lowkickmma.com/author/falcon4917 falcon4917

            Thats what I'm sayin. Or else he fights without TRT and it's fair and when others get his age they have to do the same. All I am sayin is you can judge people by what you know they do. If you dissagree or agree you are judging my opinion as well. You have the right. I don't care what his excuse is, he either is still legit or he is not. I would respect him more in a loss off of the TRT than a win on it. At least he would still be a man about his fights. I respect what he has done not what he is doing.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/UnderdogGreatness UnderdogGreatness

    If his ultimate goal is to win the LH belt, then he might as well call it quits since he won't be able to beat any of the top contenders, let along Jon Jones. If he is, however, fighting to make more money, then he should stay a little longer.

    • http://lowkickmma.com/author/IChokePeople IChokePeople

      All it takes is one right hand and Hendo can finish anyone. If he did take the strap I don't think he would hold it long but he has the ability to take it from anyone.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/dropkickmurphy dropkickmurphy

    Hendo vs Shogun.. I will pay in advance.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/Brasil Brasil

    Low chance of happening but would like to see him vs Vitor…this would be crazy!!!

    • http://lowkickmma.com/author/EvanHolober Evan Holober

      Its already happened. Hendo was dominant in a boring fight. Not that crazy.

    • http://lowkickmma.com/author/falcon4917 falcon4917

      At least they would both be on TRT.

      • http://lowkickmma.com/author/EvanHolober Evan Holober

        Vitor was on steroids last time. So they pretty much both were.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/Brasil Brasil

    That is sharp but i think the fight would be fast paced and with a lot of exchanges this time, for some reason i think Vitor would walk forward and same for Hendo turning it into a real fight, very different from the Machida fight where they where both fixated about having a shot at the belt and played it not to lose.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/Brasil Brasil

    By the way…Hendo is my favorite American fighter by far so i want to see him fight as much as possible before he retires. Hendo=American Goat!

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/BrianCox Brian Cox

    Apparently he goes to Rashad Evans.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/apocalypse123 apocalypse123

    Forrest vs. Hendo. I'm so ready for that fight.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/IChokePeople IChokePeople

    Hendo is still performing at a very high level. He has never been KOd. He has suffered some debilitating injuries but I don't think that played any part in the fight against Machida. Lyoto was just to slick for Hendo. I personally think that Hendo is good for a few more years and is really only two fights from a title shot. I'd like to see him make another run. He is one right hand away from putting anyone out so while he would never be the favorite against Jon Jones or Machida, he certainly has a shot at getting that last belt.

    • http://lowkickmma.com/author/falcon4917 falcon4917

      As long as he can dope up.

      • http://lowkickmma.com/author/IChokePeople IChokePeople

        I'm on the fence regarding TRT. It is clearly possible to abuse it but that doesn't mean that everyone who is on it is abusing it. To me, if it allows someone to have a better quality of life and perform at their best for longer that is acceptable. If fighters are using it as a way of doping and not getting in trouble, that is unacceptable. How that can be regulated, I have no idea.

        • http://lowkickmma.com/author/BrianCox Brian Cox

          @ICP

          I can live with that definition / criteria, but as you stated, how does one regulate it.

          I do know this and I say it as a Vitor Belfort fan, there should be total disclosure. The Promotion, The Commissions, The Opponents, The Fans and The Betting-Line, all should know and in real time, whose on what, how long they've been on it (cycle rates and such), who the doctor prescribing and administering is and there should be a posting of the fighters testosterone levels. All of this information should be posted on The UFC's website.

          I don't know if that's a solution, but it would make me feel a whole lot better about the situation and I'm pretty confident that Michale Bisping would have appreciated knowing it, prior to him having to fight Belfort.

        • http://lowkickmma.com/author/falcon4917 falcon4917

          Anyone who is on it is either not able to compete naturally or wants an advantage. Some are born with higher or lower testosterone, those are natural advantages and dissadvantages. The same as reach, bone density, muscle form, dexterity etc. It means everyone who has lower testosterone gets to pump their levels to the maximum a human can be born with which is a natural advantge of some like limbs or heart size etc. Dan competed without before and now he feels he can't without it. That means he is passed his prime or he wants to be able to compete at a level others don't need TRT for. Every win he gets now is tarnished in my eyes. Most think this way even the fighters themselves as we just look at how hard fighters try and keep their trt a secret. they know it's shady. I'm glad guys like Bisping who i really don't like much and Benson call out other fighters that use it. i like how Benson calls out their inferior heart. Dan has done much and yes he wants to be the best ever but if he needs trt to attain that it will be like Lance winning Tour de france with a motorcycle to me.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/Pride4Ever Pride4Ever

    forrest, evans, glover would all be great match ups. however i feel like if hendo focused on cardio and maybe even fought little lighter (200lbs?) he would be faster and have more gas. he is already naturally pretty strong for his size so i think his power loss would be negligible