Dan Henderson: I'm Used to Brazilian Fans Saying I'm Going to Die

Dan HiergesellFeatured ColumnistMarch 20, 2014

Feb 20, 2013; Torrance, CA, USA;  Dan Henderson talks to the media during today's public workout at the UFC gym in preparation for a bout with Lyoto Machida on Feb 23.  Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Dan Henderson is already a mixed martial arts legend.

The 43-year-old has journeyed all around the world challenging the best fighters available. His excellence and overwhelming resume speaks for itself.

But when "Hendo" steps inside the cage this Sunday opposite Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at UFC Fight Night 38 in Natal, Brazil, he will be trying to end a three-fight losing streak for the first time in his 17-year career.

It doesn't help that Henderson will have to fend off the very fighter who went toe-to-toe with him two-and-a-half years ago in what many consider the greatest fight of all time.

The icing on the cake: Henderson has to do all of this in front of Rua's home crowd.

"I’m excited to come down here and fight," said Henderson in a recent interview with Guilherme Cruz of MMA Fighting. "I’m already used to hear the (Brazilian) fans say I’m going to die, so I want to come down here and prove them wrong (laughs)."

Now, while that seems extremely harsh, it's all part of the game. But the unflappable veteran knows he has more cut out for him than overcoming some ill-willed heckling.

"Not to punch myself out trying to finish him because he’s hard to finish," added Henderson when asked what he learned in his first fight with Rua. "I’ll take my shots a little better."

It seems as if Henderson is taking a more cautious approach to Sunday, which may come as a surprise to fans accustomed to seeing him sling heavy-handed leather without hesitation. But I guess it's the smart move considering he's coming off loses to Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans and Vitor Belfort.

"I’m capable of finishing him, but it doesn’t always happen when you want, so I’m ready to go five rounds," said Henderson. "I’m excited about it."


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