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Dan Henderson Talks Anderson Silva, Moving Down To Middleweight And More

PRIDE middleweight champion Dan Henderson is set to battle Anderson Silva for the UFC middleweight championship on March 1 in Columbus, Ohio. He recently held an open training session and addressed a variety of topics including his highly anticipate match up with Anderson Silva, his move down to the middleweight division and much more. Here are the highlights of that conversation courtesy of The Orange County Registry.

Henderson on striking with Silva:

“I’m going in there hoping to knock him out. I’m not going to out-slick him on his feet, but I’m definitely going to land the harder shots.”

Henderson on his wrestling skills vs. Silva’s Jiu-Jitsu:

“I’m not nervous about his ground game at all. Wrestling-wise I feel I can put him on the ground whenever I want. Sometimes you can’t finish them quite as easy on the ground, so I’m definitely going to stand on my feet with him and striking … it will be a good mixture of mixed martial arts. It’s not going to be just on the feet. It’s not going to be just on the ground or in the clinch. It’s going to go all over. I’m ready for a 25-minute fight against him. I’m hoping for a 25-second knockout.”

Henderson on Silva being considered the top MMA fighter pound-for-pound in the world by a number of publications and Web sites:

“I think that’s great. I’ve already said my piece about it. I think he is a tough guy and very skilled but I wouldn’t consider him the top pound-for-pound fighter, just because I’ve seen more of his past than what the U.S. crowd has in the UFC. The guys he’s fought in the UFC really compliment his style. I expected him to walk through most of those guys. He’s very skilled on his feet. The guys he’s fought aren’t very good wrestlers.”

Henderson on who is the top pound-for-pound fighter if it’s not Silva:

“After this fight it will be me. But it’s hard to say. I would argue against it being Fedor (Emelianenko) because he’s a heavyweight. Heavyweights are tough to give that pound-for-pound ranking. He hasn’t fought a top heavyweight for a while. So I don’t know. It’s those guys that have beaten guys a little bit heavier than them and beaten everybody at their weight as well. I would argue that Matt Lindland should be in there as well. He’s gone up in weight and done well. There are a lot of guys. (Georges) St. Pierre is right up there and B.J. Penn.”

Henderson on the new DREAM promotion in Japan which was put together by Fight Entertainment Group and former PRIDE staffers:

“I think there are two promotions starting. There’s DREAM and World Victory Road. I think it’s great for the sport. I think a lot of fans miss having PRIDE and that production, not necessarily the fighters and they fights they put on. There are top fighters in most of the organizations now, but the production is what I miss most. It will be good to watch that just as a fan now. I’m in the UFC for a while.”

Henderson on the PRIDE vs. UFC argument:

“The consensus now is that the PRIDE guys aren’t doing so well in the UFC, but in my opinion my last fight with Quinton Jackson was two PRIDE guys fighting for the title. Anderson came from PRIDE. Obvioulsy, he’s improved a little bit since then. (Antonio Rodrigo) Nogueira has the interim title now. I think there is a little pride with that, but for me it’s about myself and my team. That’s it. I’m not going to win for a company that went belly up. I’m just going to do the best that I can out there for me and my team and my fans.”

On the fight he would put together as a fan if he could pick any two fighters in the world:

“This one right here. I don’t know. I mean, right now, this is the only one on the horizon that has that. I would like to see … I would have liked to see Wanderlei (Silva) against Quinton Jackson in the UFC. Quinton lost in PRIDE, but it would be different here. But that probably won’t happen now that he (Wanderlei) lost to Chuck.”