MMA veteran Dan Henderson recently earned himself a shot at the Strikeforce light heavyweight belt by making quick work of Renato “Babalu” Sobral this past December. He will take on Strikeforce champ Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante this March for that belt, but gave serious thought to competing for another kind of belt in an even higher weight class.
“Hendo” revealed during a recent appearance on the Sherdog Radio Network’s Savage Dog Show that he had been asked about taking a spot in the upcoming Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix and was quite intrigued with the opportunity.
“They had kind of approached me about fighting in that heavyweight tournament just to see how I’d feel about it,” Henderson said. “I told them I was open to it. It was interesting. Definitely a huge challenge, and that’s one of the reasons why I’m still in the sport, just to challenge myself.”
Normally a competitor at middleweight or light heavyweight, Henderson was under no delusion that he would be a tournament favorite, but he was excited at the prospect of testing himself against some of the fighters in the bracket.
“I think there’s a couple of matchups that would have been interesting for me or fun to do,” Henderson said. “I don’t think I would have won the tournament by any means, but possibly. Of course I said that when I went into that Rings ‘King of Kings’ tournament. I didn’t think I was going to win it, but I was going to do my best.”
As it stands, Henderson is eyeing either Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem or fellow PRIDE legend Fedor Emelianenko as being potential tournament winners.
“I would probably have to put money on either Fedor or Overeem,” Henderson said. “Overeem hasn’t really been tested lately past the first few minutes of a fight. He’s a monster. He’s a beast these days.”
Henderson will challenge for the light heavyweight strap at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio this March 5th. The opening round of the Strikeforce heavyweight tournament will kick off this Saturday night at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey, as Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Silva will feature tournament matches between Andrei Arlovski and Sergei Kharitonov as well as Fedor Emelianenko and Antonio Silva.