MMA legend Dan Henderson got beat by UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva back in 2008, submitting to a rear naked choke in the second round of their UFC 82 championship battle. Since then, Hendo has gone back up to light heavyweight and back and forth from the UFC to Strikeforce to the UFC. Silva, meanwhile, has done nothing but win and defend his title, having extended his consecutive title defense record to nine this past August by defeating Yushin Okami.
Currently, Silva is on the sidelines rehabbing a shoulder injury, with a scheduled return date of sometime in early summer. As a result of his injury-induced inactivity, Henderson and his old Team Quest teammate Chael Sonnen (over whom Silva also has a win) have repeatedly stated their belief that Silva is ducking the pair of them and would be eager to get back to action if he were given another opponent.
As Henderson said following last December’s middleweight tilt between Jason “Mayhem” Miller and Michael Bisping: “Looked like one guy hadn’t fought in a long time & the other guy cut too much weight. Kinda like the JV team. Not hating. Just not a great night for either guy–weren’t there physically so they looked more like TUF cast than coaches. All the ‘injuries’ that keep Anderson from a rematch w/ me or Chael will heal real fast if they offer Bisping to him.”
However, UFC president Dana White has repeatedly stated himself that Silva has never turned down an opponent – which is evident when you look at his record and see that, when the talent pool got shallow at 185, he moved up to test himself at light heavyweight – and wouldn’t be able to fake an injury anyway since all UFC fighters must see UFC approved doctors when claiming injury, with said doctors reporting the fighter’s true condition to the promotion.
Henderson, on the other hand, has been documented turning down opponents – recently, even.
It was revealed on the second episode of UFC Tonight last night that Henderson turned down a proposed bout against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira which was intended to further develop the light heavyweight title picture. Considering that Henderson derisively accused Silva and his team of manipulating the end of his career so that he can avoid loss in his last fights, turning down a fight against Lil’ Nog – a man that holds a first-round submission victory over the 41-year-old Henderson which has gone unavenged – comes off as at least a bit hypocritical.
To recap: Anderson Silva has beaten Chael Sonnen and Dan Henderson and has shown no real indication since that he’s unwilling to fight them again; Dan Henderson lost to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and turned down a chance to fight him again.
Dan Henderson is a proven competitor, one of the best in the sport, who’s managed to deny his age and remain one of the top fighters in two separate weight classes toward the end of his career. Hendo’s toughness and skill cannot be refuted and his accomplishments overshadow most anyone’s in the sport – but this situation illustrates how silly/unfounded fighter call-outs can often be.