Top UFC middleweight contender Dan “Hendo” Henderson was less than flattering when asked about his thoughts on Randy Couture’s recent loss to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.
“I think there’s some guys in the sport that don’t have the chins they used to, and maybe Randy’s one of them,” Henderson told Sports Illustrated.
Clearly a harsh critic, Hendo further opined on his pending challenge to the reigning UFC middleweight champion, Anderson “The Spider” Silva. “If I were his manager, I’d be trying not to have him fight me as well. I know that Anderson Silva is really trying not to fight me. It’s obvious.”
Henderson’s position is based on the recent banter from The Spider’s management recently suggesting that an elimination bout of sorts be undertaken between Hendo and the victor of the Nate “The Great” Marquardt and Demian Maia face off.
Marquardt made quick work of Maia, at UFC 102: Couture vs Nogueira knocking out the Second Degree Brazilian Jui Jitsu Black Belt in only 21 seconds. Now Hendo and Marquardt both having lost to The Spider, stand at the precipice of a rematch.
Hendo is having no part of this competition for second place and believes he can dethrone Silva, arguably the most feared fighter in all of MMA. In truth, Henderson is the one man who has taken a round in The Octagon from the Spider back in UFC 82: Pride Of A Champion. In that bout, Henderson dominated the Champion in the first round before submitting to a choke in the second frame. The last man to hold both the Welterweight and Middleweight titles for the now defunct Pride Fighting Championship, Hendo is not short on confidence, stating, “I think I’m the one guy that poses enough dangers [to Silva] style-wise.”
Despite the chatter, it appears that UFC President Dana White is not especially anxious to promote a rematch bout with either man facing the Spider. Following UFC 102, a non-committal White stated that both Henderson and Marquardt are “in the mix for a title shot against Anderson.”
Obviously nothing is set in stone, but it does seem clear that Henderson has drawn a line in the sand, “Silva is the only fight that interests me at 185. I said that before Nate’s fight.”
Henderson has also stated that he would go back up to light heavyweight before facing Marquardt at Middleweight.
While Henderson may be justified in his position, he may have to wait until next year to face Silva anyway. Silva will be undergoing elbow surgery soon, which will put the UFC middleweight champion out of action for the rest of the year.