For 40-year-old Dan Henderson, last night’s victory over fellow decorated Pride FC veteran Fedor Emelianenko may mean more than any of the title-grabbing wins he’s had over his storied professional career.
“It’s probably right on top,” said Henderson at the post-fight press conference. “I admire Fedor as a competitor. He’s very dangerous, and this means a lot more to me than some of the other wins I’ve had. I’m a huge fan of his, and I hope he continues fighting.”
Hendo admits that he was taken off guard when Emelianenko came swinging hard right out of the gate and doubly when he landed the fight-ending shot: an uppercut thrown while behind Emelianenko that he didn’t see coming and left him, eyes glazed, with his face on the mat.
“I didn’t anticipate that at all,” said Henderson. “I was expecting a three-round decision. Both of us are hard to knock out. I wasn’t going to get submitted by him, and I typically don’t submit guys. I thought I wanted to win each round. I wanted to wear him out the first round, make him carry my weight around a little bit, make him worry. But he came out swinging right from the get-go and caught me off guard. But I had no choice to swing back, I guess. He definitely came to fight.”
Having just beaten one of the most well-respected heavyweight fighters in the sport, Henderson explained that he’s looking to defend his light heavyweight title from here — but that all depends on what the Zuffa heads have in store for him now that he ran out the last fight on his Strikeforce contract.
“I’d like to defend my belt in Strikeforce,” Henderson said. “But it’s all up to Strikeforce and now Zuffa, the new owners. We’ll see what happens, but I’m just going to enjoy this victory for a while.”