After his November 2011 war against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, former Pride and Strikeforce champion Dan Henderson was slated to face off with Jon Jones for a chance at the last belt that has eluded his illustrious collection.
It wasn’t meant to be as a knee injury forced Henderson out of UFC 151, dashing his title hopes for the time being. At 43 years of age, “Hendo” didn’t back up his case too well upon his return to the Octagon.
Losing two straight lackluster decisions against Lyoto Machida and Rashad Evans, Henderson finds himself booked against familiar foe Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort at this weekend's UFC Fight Night 32 from Brazil. Both Henderson and Belfort have been in the news repeatedly for their well-publicized use of testosterone replacement therapy. Henderson appeared on today’s edition of “The MMA Hour” to discuss his rematch with Belfort:
“It wasn’t what I expected at all, but you know, I knew the fans would love it and it was bound to be a pretty exciting fight with both of our styles matched up. There’s a little more pressure on this fight.”
Of course the inevitable discussion of Belfort’s turning back of the clock came up. Helwani asked Henderson if he was surprised to see “The Phenom” knocking out foes with spectacular headkicks during his TRT-fueled run:
“I guess a little bit. I think it all has to do with him not getting an exemption to be able to fight outside of Brazil. Based on him testing positive before they won’t give him an exemption inside the States. He tested positive the first time I fought him. I wasn’t overly concerned with it now or then. I don’t really know or care what he’s been up to. I’ve got no control over what he’s doing. Regardless, I feel like I’m the better fighter.”
Henderson was his usual calm self, confident in his explosive right hand that can quickly negate TRT or any other danger. However, he hasn’t been able to find a home for his H-bomb as of late, and he’s become a bit of a one-trick pony. He addressed the losing streak against Machida and Evans:
“It’s tough to fight someone who doesn’t want to engage. That was a little frustrating. Then the Rashad fight, it’s tough to get excited when someone’s trying to take you down the whole time. It wasn't as unexciting as the Machida fight.”
“Hendo” didn’t receive a TRT exemption for his June bout against Rashad Evans in Winnipeg. He said he didn’t think it really made much of a difference, but he did lose. As a user of TRT himself, Henderson understandably doesn’t care about Belfort’s use.
He’s one of few to echo that sentiment. Can “Hendo” resurrect his career against the surging Belfort?