Dan Henderson Retires: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistOctober 9, 2016

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 06:   Dan Henderson interacts with media during the UFC 204 Ultimate Media Day at Manchester Central on October 6, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

In advance of UFC 204, Dan Henderson was adamant he would retire regardless of how his rematch with Michael Bisping proceeded. 

As it turns out, per Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting.com, Henderson stayed true to his word after losing a unanimous decision against Bisping by reiterating his career has come to an end.

Per Helwani, Henderson did have some humor after the judges determined Bisping retained the UFC middleweight title:

Ariel Helwani @arielhelwani

Class words by Hendo, who seems a bit emotional. "I came up a little short, but not bad for an old man."

Henderson, 46, has been fighting professionally since he made his MMA debut in 1997. After he logged a pair of wins at the Brazil Open, Henderson made his UFC debut at UFC 17 in May 1998 with a unanimous- decision victory over Allan Goes.

From that point on, Henderson established himself as one of the sport's steadiest fighters thanks to a 9-0 start.

And while Henderson experienced tremendous success—including a Pride Fighting Championship middleweight title over Wanderlei Silva via third-round knockout in 2007—he could never break through and capture a UFC belt. 

That said, he did have two chances to emerge as UFC royalty. 

The first came in September 2007, when Henderson squared off against Quinton Jackson at UFC 75. However, Jackson emerged with a unanimous-decision victory that forced Henderson to vie for a title shot six months later against Anderson Silva. 

That clash also ended in disappointment for Henderson, who was bested via submission (rear-naked choke) in the second round. 

But despite the brief failures, Henderson continued to compete beside some of the UFC's best before he secured a rousing second-round knockout of Bisping at UFC 100 in July 2009. 

With a rematch still on fans' minds seven years later, Bisping decided to enter the Octagon one final time even though he could have gone out on top in June following a knockout of Hector Lombard at UFC 199. 

"I am thankful to the fans for pushing for this fight", Henderson said, according to Sporting News' Steven Muehlhausen. "I had the offer to fight for the belt again. It was something that I didn't think was going to happen before I retired. I was ready to retire after the Lombard fight. This is definitely going to be my last fight."

This time around, Henderson didn't leave any doubt regarding his future plans. 

"I'm absolutely 100 percent sure this will be my last fight," Henderson added, per ESPN.com's Brett Okamoto. "I don't really have too many emotions about it. I don't think about it too much. I've just been focusing on what I have to do in the fight." 

And while he may be stepping away from a sport that's been kind to him for nearly two decades, Henderson sounded at peace with his decision prior to Saturday's fight. 

"I'm kind of looking forward to the different chapter I'm going to start after this fight," he said, according to Okamoto.


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