Considering the vast differences between the sport of MMA now and just a few years ago, it’s sometimes easy to forget that guys like Dan Henderson — who currently holds the Strikeforce light heavyweight title — used to participate in single-night tournaments and take on guys in heavier weight classes just for the competition.
Though the opportunities to display it in that manner have lessened with the continued evolution and organization of the sport, that kind of spirit is still alive and well, as is evidenced by Henderson’s recent refusal to fight heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko at a catchweight below the heavyweight limit.
With their match less than a month away, Henderson — who has made a career competing at middleweight and light heavyweight — recently spoke with MMAJunkie.com and revealed what he will likely weigh come fight time.
“I think I have to weigh-in over 206, so (I’ll be) 206.1 (pounds), I guess,” said Dangerous Dan.
Hendo trusts his skills and the experience he garnered squaring off against larger men during the dark days and during his tenure in Pride FC. It is clear that his opponent’s weight is of little concern to the respected veteran.
“In the past, I’ve never felt small against heavyweights,” Henderson said. “I was excited for the fight, in general, and I don’t care what he comes in at. I’ve never agreed with catchweights in the past, and I’m OK fighting up, so it is what it is.”
In speaking with MMAJunkie, Henderson also addressed the idea that, as a result of his recent consecutive losses to Fabricio Werdum and Antonio Silva, the pathway to beating the revered Russian legend has been laid. Henderson doesn’t think that either strategy which those men employed would work for him and therefore that those losses will not play into his development of a strategy.
“I’ve never done an armbar in a fight, and I’m not 80 pounds bigger than him to lay on him,” Henderson said. “Those two losses aren’t really my style. I think we match-up real well for an exciting fight. I think I’ve got to wear him out early in the fight and really make him keep up a pretty good pace and get on top of him, as well. … I really hope he comes in great shape and motivated, re-motivated for this fight, because that’s the Fedor I want to fight.”
Henderson and Fedor square off on July 30 at a Strikeforce event bearing their names, which will go down at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.