Dan Henderson: I Still Want to Win a UFC Title Before I Retire

John HeinisSenior Analyst IMay 22, 2014

Jun 15, 2013; Winnipeg, MB, Canada; Rashad Evans (right) fights Dan Henderson during their light heavyweight bout at UFC 161 at MTS Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Former Pride and Strikeforce champion Dan Henderson may be just 1-3 in his past four fights, but he still has his eye on wearing UFC gold before he hangs up the four-ounce gloves for good. 

Following a stunning come-from-behind knockout over Mauricio "Shogun" Rua in March, "Hendo" is improbably one victory away from a title shot, though that's a big if, given that the undefeated Daniel Cormier is in his way. 

The 43-year-old fight veteran welcomes the challenge at UFC 173 this Saturday though, telling Yahoo Sports that he still believes he can sit atop the UFC's light heavyweight throne. 

"First it’s Shogun and now its Cormier," Henderson said. "Which is fine. I welcome it. That’s the reason I fight, is to fight the top guys ... “It motivates me a lot,” he said about winning a UFC title. “That’s the last goal I haven’t achieved in the sport. It would be nice to accomplish that and I just want to make sure I give myself every chance to do that. I think I’m right on the right track to do that. I feel great and I’m confident this fight will do it."

After four straight wins between December 2010 and November 2011, Henderson was actually slated to meet 205-pound kingpin Jon Jones at UFC 151 in September 2012. 

Unfortunately, the Team Quest co-founder suffered a knee injury just days before the event and the pay-per-view card was ultimately cancelled, per UFC.com

While Henderson has come up on the short end of tough matchups between Rashad Evans, Lyoto Machida and Vitor Belfort recently, he remains ranked the No. 6 light heavyweight in the UFC's official rankings.

Cormier, the No. 4 light heavyweight according to the UFC, is 14-0 (nine finishes) as a professional mixed martial artist. 

"DC" made his first weight cut to 205 pounds at UFC 170 in February, making short work of the relatively unknown Patrick Cummins. 

As a heavyweight, Cormier recorded convincing wins over the likes of Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva, Roy Nelson and former UFC heavyweight champs Josh Barnett and Frank Mir. 

Is it realistic to believe Henderson could still challenge for the light heavyweight strap, or are the 17-year fight veteran's best days in the cage clearly behind him?


John Heinis is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also thMMA editor for eDraft.com