Dan Henderson Signs With Strikeforce, Leaves UFC: Gegard Mousasi Awaits.

LAS VEGAS - JULY 11:  (R-L) Dan Henderson connects with a right to Mike Bisping during their middleweight bout during UFC 100 on July 11, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)
Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images
Jung Soo KimCorrespondent IDecember 7, 2009

It was just announced that Dan Henderson (25-7), the former Pride FC middle-weight and light-heavyweight Champion and UFC middleweight contender, had signed a 4-fight, 16-month deal with Strikeforce.

In an interview with, Henderson's manager Aaron Crecy said, "Dan chose to sign with Strikeforce after careful consideration."

Henderson's move to UFC's rival organization should not come as a total surprise.

The grizzled veteran, who fought all kinds of MMA legends such as Quinton Rampage Jackson, Wanderlei Silva, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Anderson Silva, vocally expressed his dissatisfaction in not getting his shot for the middle-weight belt after knocking out Michael Bisping (18-2) in UFC 100.

He also had trouble inking a new contract with the UFC. Henderson, the Fertitta owners and UFC president Dana White reportedly met together at the end of September to work out a resolution, but nothing came to fruition.

As time passed without any positive progress, White made things turn from bad to worse by banning Henderson's trademark sponsor, Clinchgear, from the organization.

It is reported that Henderson refused to fight fellow UFC middleweight Nate Marquardt (29-8) at UFC 109 in 2010. Marquardt will instead face Henderson's Team Quest teammate Chael Sonnen (23-10), who just defeated Yushin Okami (23-5) in impressive fashion. 

Henderson will probably face rising star Gegard Mousasi (27-2) for the Strikeforce Light-heavyweight belt sometime next year.

A match with current Strikeforce middleweight champion Jake Shields (24-4) is also not far out of sight.

But people tend to be more interested in the heavier weight-class fights, and Shields absolutely horrified the spectators in his last fight against Jason "Mayhem" Miller (22-7), while Mousasi was more exciting and dominant.

Current champion Mousasi beat another teammate of Henderson's, Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (7-5), in November, although the fight was not for the belt.

Seeing as how Henderson has already been a champion of two different weight-divisions before, this is still a good possibility.

A potential card featuring Alistair Overeem versus Fedor Emelianenko and Henderson versus Mousasi will no doubt help Strikeforce significantly propel its status.

The UFC will have to come up with an equally good or better card to counter its competing organization.

While Henderson's move to Strikeforce will certainly leave several UFC fans disappointed, this also means that many more casual MMA fans will get to see another top-quality fighter on free network television.

I personally support the former Olympic wrestler's decision. He has proved again and again how tough he is no matter who his opponent is.

He might be 39 years old, and he may be missing some teeth, but his fight against UFC has only just begun. Round 1 just started, and Dan never quits.


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