It's been nearly 15 months since Dan Henderson was in the UFC Octagon, and in large part that's because he was waiting for his shot at the UFC light heavyweight title and a fight with champion Jon Jones.
Following his epic Fight of the Year performance against Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at UFC 139 in November 2011, Henderson sat out the better part of a year because he knew his next challenge would be facing Jon Jones.
Unfortunately the waiting game backfired when Henderson suffered a knee injury that forced him out of his scheduled bout against Jones at UFC 151 last year. Since that time, Henderson has recovered, but also had to watch his friend Chael Sonnen get the next shot at Jones while he stood on the sidelines waiting for his next fight to happen.
Now that Henderson is on the precipice of his fight with Lyoto Machida at UFC 157, he's moved past the anger he felt when it seemed like he got passed over for a title shot against Jones despite never losing his place in the division.
He's done waiting for title shots, and he's done sitting out hoping that the big fight will happen.
"I think I'm over it. I'm over being frustrated with it. I'm here to fight and hopefully fight the best guys out there, but if I don't get the chance I'll fight the next best guy in line for the title. I'm not going to sit around and wait anymore. I'm done doing that," Henderson told Bleacher Report.
"One, I'm getting older and two I'm here to fight and entertain the fans. That's pretty much my job. I feel that (Jon) Jones is the one missing out if that fight doesn't happen."
Jones has said on numerous occasions that he would still like to face Henderson if their paths can cross again, but it won't be until at least his next fight is finished in April.
Henderson did say that if he had been afforded the chance to coach on the Ultimate Fighter again opposite Jon Jones he would have jumped at the opportunity, only because that would have been a guaranteed title shot and only delay the fight two more months from when he's fighting this weekend.
"I would have rather coached on the show," Henderson said.
"I think that would have been fine with me. It was two months basically, so I would have rather coached on the show. It is the way it is."
Since his fight with Lyoto Machida was announced for UFC 157, Henderson has heard UFC President Dana White say he's next in line for a shot at the belt with a win. Of course, he's also heard White say that Alexander Gustafsson is next if he beats Gegard Mousasi at UFC on Fuel 8 in April.
Henderson won't believe anything until he has a contract in hand, and if the title shot doesn't come then, he will move onto the next fight.
"I'm not going to worry about it because who knows what's going to happen. Dana does like to change his mind a little bit so it is what it is," said Henderson.
"I'm not going to worry about it now, I've got a pretty tough opponent sitting in front of me so why should I be worried about anything in the future?"
If Henderson can beat Machida, he would likely have to sit out six months at least before getting a shot at the winner of Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen, with their fight taking place in late April. If the waiting game is over, Henderson could easily move on to take another fight in the interim.
Still, it's hard to deny if Henderson gets a contract in hand, the title shot would be awfully hard to walk away from even if it's not until late in 2013.
Damon Martin is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report and all quotes were obtained first hand unless otherwise noted.
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