After his highlight-reel knockout of Michael Bisping at UFC 100, Dan Henderson and the UFC ended up with different figures of what he was worth. This led to his leaving the company in 2009 and signing with smaller promotion Strikeforce.
“I was fairly surprised that it’s as far away as what I thought I fair offer would have been,” said Henderson, who is coming off three losses in a row, including his first-ever KO/TKO loss to Vitor Belfort at UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Henderson in Brazil in November of 2013.
“I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say I was insulted, but I know what they’re trying to accomplish and trying to get everybody for as cheap as they can. That’s what they like to do. I don’t take it personally, but it was a lot lower than I expected.”
While it might sound as if Henderson is offended by his situation, he made it clear that he wasn’t even considering fighting anywhere else.
“I think they want me to come back. I don’t want to go anywhere else, it’s not even in my mind right now and I don’t think they want me to go anywhere else either. It’s just something where we’re a little far apart, and we need to sit down and get it hashed out.”
The UFC plans on delivering more events than ever in 2014, and with big draws like Georges St-Pierre and Anderson Silva out of action, Henderson said he understood the UFC’s current situation.
“I think, from what I’ve been hearing they’re trying to lower everyone’s purses win or lose, just because pay-per-view numbers aren’t as high as they used to be,” he said. “They are having a lot more shows, a lot more pay-per-views, a lot more free cards, so obviously they’re going to do less PPVs when they’re offering so many more cards and shows. It’s just a little too watered down to get as many numbers as they used to on every pay-per-view card.”
Since his return to the UFC from Strikeforce, Henderson has only seen victory one time, against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua; a bout that won Fight of the Year for 2011.
As one of the pioneers of MMA, he has fought in nearly every significant promotion to exist and has won titles nearly everywhere except for a UFC title belt.
Henderson defeated Wanderlei Silva in February of 2007 to become the first man in a major promotion to hold titles in two different weight divisions at the same time: the Pride welterweight and middleweight belts.
After winning the UFC 17 middleweight tournament in 1998, Henderson fought twice in title bouts and was turned away by Quinton “Rampage” Jackson at light heavyweight and Anderson Silva at middleweight.
Now, at age 43, one begins to wonder just how much longer Henderson has left in a sport that saw him accomplish so much.