Dan Henderson is one of MMA’s few elder statesmen who can still not only hang with the young bucks, but knock their heads through the uprights more often than not. The 41-year-old is riding a four-fight winning streak that includes victories over the likes of Babalu Sobral, Feijao Cavalcante, Fedor Emelianenko and Shogun Rua and has become one of the most revered and well-respected fighters in the game.
Adding to Hendo’s already well-established legacy was his recent battle with fellow Pride FC vet Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, which was dubbed by many to be the best fight in mixed martial arts history. The five-round epic saw Henderson slow after beating Rua down for the majority of the first three rounds, allowing the incredibly durable Brazilian to mount something of a comeback in the later portion of the fight. Henderson was ruled the winner by unanimous decision, but Rua can hardly be called the loser in this scenario as his tremendous display of heart, courage and will was the thing of sports legend.
Henderson himself has said he doesn’t think he’s ever hit anyone as hard as he did Shogun and seen them not only retain consciousness, but stay in the fight. However, Hendo said during a recent appearance on the Sherdog Radio Network’s Savage Dog Show that he’s not so sure how well Shogun’s incredible durability will serve him in the future, as beatings like that one can take years off of a fighter’s career.
“I think [the referee] could have stopped it and I don’t think anyone would have bitched. … Honestly I don’t know how good that was for [Shogun's] head, to take that much beating and still take more after that,” said Henderson. “That’s more of a question for the doctors and the people that are doing the head scans on him. Maybe that took a toll on his chin and he won’t be able to do that again.”
Despite participating in possibly the best fight in MMA history, Henderson didn’t pat himself on the back for too long, as he would have rather ended things early on and gone home without having to stop at the hospital first.
“Honestly, I don’t have a whole lot to say about it. I just keep plugging away and trying to reach the goals I’ve set,” he said of the fight. “Obviously my first choice on that last fight with Shogun wasn’t to go five rounds. I would have hoped to have knocked him out in the first two or three rounds. That’s what I was trying to do. Because the fight went the way it went with him kind of making a comeback toward the end, I think it made that fight have that status of what people are going to talk about. It wasn’t my first choice, but having gone through it and being done with it now, it worked out all right. I guess there might be a few of those in me, but those aren’t my favorite fights.”