Dan Henderson Was ‘Absolutely’ Ready To Retire After UFC 199

Dan Henderson

Many fight fans were extremely surprised to see No. 13-ranked Dan Henderson receive a title shot against newly minted 185-pound champion Michael Bisping, but he did, and the two are slated to face off in a rematch at UFC 204 on October 8, 2016 in Bisping’s home of Manchester, England. Many were also surprised to hear Henderson, who currently sits at age 45, say that win or lose, he would retire after the title fight, but he appears to be sticking to his guns. In fact, the former Olympian was ready to hang up his gloves after his stoppage victory over Hector Lombard at June 4’s UFC 199:

“It all depended on what my options were afterwards as far as employment goes,” Henderson said on Monday’s The MMA Hour. “I was ready to kind of have that one be my last fight depending on, like I said, what options I’d have. For whatever reason, the stars aligned and the fans asked for one more fight, I guess.”

Despite the matchup being a somewhat strange one, at least from a rankings standpoint, Henderson admits that he wasn’t overly surprised by the booking given the interest from fans as well as Bisping himself:

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“I don’t know if I was surprised just because I saw on my social media and all over the place how many fans wanted that fight,” he said. “The UFC does listen to the fans sometimes. It didn’t hurt, like I said, that Michael Bisping wanted the fight also.”

“Hendo”, a former PRIDE and Strikeforce champion, has achieved great things in his lengthy career, although a UFC title has been the one shiny gold strap that has avoided his grasp. While he may not have expected to receive a shot at the belt this late in his career, he now plans to make the most of the opportunity, as becoming a UFC champion is one of the last goals he had set for himself:

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“It’s something I didn’t think was going to happen and now it’s happening and I’m going to make sure to make the most of it.”

“It’s pretty much the last goal that had set for myself,” he admitted. “A couple of years ago as I lost a couple of times here and there and wasn’t having the best of luck, I kinda figured that I wouldn’t have that opportunity again, but I was still satisfied with what I’ve done with my career and satisfied with myself with not having that UFC belt. But it is the last one that I don’t have.”

As far as what Henderson plans to do after his fighting career hits its expiration date, he said that he’d like to talk with the UFC about potentially representing the promotion in some way outside of the Octagon:

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” [I] kinda wanted to finish my contract up and have a talk with Dana [White] about either representing [the UFC] in some capacity outside of the cage in working for the UFC,” he said. “That was what I was going to speak with them about, not necessarily fighting again.”

Are you giving Henderson a chance against Bisping?