MMA legend Dan Henderson is the last fighter to hold the PRIDE middleweight and light heavyweight belts, which he held simultaneously. Henderson recently moved from the UFC to Strikeforce after amassing a 3-2 record in the promotion. The Temecula, California resident made his Strikeforce debut this past April at Strikeforce: Nashville where he was defeated by then-middileweight champion Jake Shields by unanimous decision–despite earning what could be scored as a 10-8 round in the first frame.
Speaking with Sherdog.com recently, Henderson revealed why he faded so hard in the later rounds of that bout and explained why he will be putting on a better show this weekend when he takes on previous opponent Renato “Babalu” Sobral.
“It was a medical thing. Something came up unexpected, and my weight went up when it should have been going down,” said Henderson. “It was some medication that doctors gave me for some back injuries that didn’t do well with weight-cutting. I cut 19 pounds from the night before to the weigh-ins. I’ve never had to do that ever in my whole wrestling career. I’ve cut more weight than that but never that much last-minute like that.”
Henderson will meet “Babalu” at light heavyweight for their contest and told Sherdog that he enjoys the benefit of not having to cut much, if any, weight. Presumably, Henderson will be able to perform at his usual level this time out as a result of not having to make the middleweight limit of 185-pounds. Though he is certainly looking for a win and to make a statement (and probably to quiet the critics who believe the 40-year old fighter’s best days are behind him), Henderson told Sherdog that a loss will not spell the end for him.
“I feel like I am out there to win and to make sure I win every fight. Sometimes it doesn’t work out that way, but I don’t feel like it’s a do-or-die situation,” he said. “I am not going to retire if it doesn’t go my way, but I feel very confident in my training for this fight. Hopefully, it won’t be an issue.”
Win or lose “Hendo” won’t be hanging up the gloves and he also won’t be delivering a boring performance; he told Sherdog that he is looking to improve drastically upon his last performance and that he hasn’t stuck around this long to phone in his fights.
“It will not be a boring fight. I am in this to perform well, and I want to make sure it is exciting for the fans [so I can] bring new fans to the sport,” Henderson said. “I did not do that in my last fight, so I want to make sure this one is exciting.”
Henderson and “Babalu” will meet in the main event of Strikeforce: Henderson vs. Babalu, which will take place at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri this Saturday night.