It’s been more than a year since Dan Henderson stepped into the Octagon, last competing in the main event of UFC 139 on Nov. 19, 2011. Henderson and his opponent that night, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, put on quite a performance, with some ranking their five-round battle as the best fight they had ever witnessed in UFC history.
Henderson walked away from that bout bloody and bruised but with a victory, and it looked like he was going to be matched up against UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones at UFC 151.
Yes, that fight card.
Henderson was forced to withdraw from the Sept. 1, 2012 event due to a knee injury, and after Jones refused a short notice fight with Chael Sonnen, the card was scrapped.
Since then, Henderson has been rehabbing his knee in anticipation of his UFC 157 bout against former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida. When asked about his knee on the UFC 157 media call, Henderson acknowledged that he might have mishandled the rehab but that he is now confident that he is fully recovered and ready to step into the Octagon to face Machida.
“The knee was very unstable. I didn’t need surgery, but I probably prolonged it a little by trying to go in and train on it, which may or may not have made the healing process a little slower. I know that it’s good now and I can go 100 percent.”
As far as what’s at stake, UFC president Dana White told the media before UFC on Fox 6 that a victory for Henderson would put him at the top of the line for a shot at the UFC light heavyweight title, a title that Jones will defend against Chael Sonnen at UFC 159.
Who wins at UFC 157?
When asked about what was on the line in his bout with Machida, Henderson refused to pull an Alistair Overeem and look past Machida.
“Just like any fight nowadays, there’s a lot on the line and Lyoto’s going to be a huge challenge and I’m not looking past this fight. I just want to make sure my game plan is there and that my mind is in this fight and we’ll see what happens after that.”
Henderson and Machida is a fight that would headline many UFC cards, but not UFC 157; that card will be headlined by the UFC’s first WMMA bout, as Ronda Rousey defends her UFC crown against Liz Carmouche.
Henderson had nothing bad to say about that bout. “I think it’s great. I’ve got no problem with it.”
The fact that Henderson will be competing in the co-main event has another positive tied to it in the eyes of the 42-year-old Henderson.
“Fighting three rounds is kind of nice.”
When his fight with Machida is over, he fully plans to check out the evening’s main event. “I’m definitely a fan and I’ll be watching when my fight’s over.”
All Dan Henderson quotes obtained first hand by BR MMA.