Dan Henderson had publicly stated that his middleweight title fight against current champion Michael Bisping at UFC 204 on Saturday night would be his last, and despite coming agonisingly close to seizing the belt, he’s sticking to that plan.
‘Hendo’ came close to stopping his rival twice in the opening 10 minutes of the fight, flooring him on both occasions with his deadly right hand, but unlike at UFC 100 backin 2009, he wasn’t able to switch off ‘The Count’s’ lights, and ultimately that would cost him the fight, losing by unanimous decision (48-47 x2, 49-46).
Still, it was an impressive feat to still give the champion such a tough fight at 46 years old, but that doesn’t appear to have changed his mind about hanging up his gloves.
“Unfortunately that was the last one, and it’ll have to be an ‘L’ on my record,” Henderson stated at the post-fight press conference. “But I left it all in there. I felt I did everything I needed to do to win the fight. Unfortunately everybody didn’t see it that way.”
Henderson went on to describe exactly how he believed he’d done enough to emerge victorious on the night.
“The first round, it was almost finished real close,” Henderson recalled. “I thought that was obviously a 10-8 round. But you never know. I thought I won the first two rounds, he won the third and fourth. And I wanted to make sure I went out and won the fifth. And I felt like I did that, went out and took him down. Landed some decent shots on him. I didn’t feel hurt once in the whole fight from anything, with the exception of one leg kick that hurt my thigh a little bit. Obviously by looking at him, he felt some of the shots that I hit him with.”
‘Hendo’ wasn’t the only person who scored the opening round 10-8 in his favor, as others, including UFC president Dana White, were also on-board that bandwagon.
“He was surprised that it wasn’t a 10-8 round, which would’ve made it a draw at the very least, depending on that fifth round,” Henderson said of his conversation with White in the Octagon immediately after the fight. “That was about it. He just expressed to me that it was an awesome fight.”
Despite falling just short of claiming the title, Henderson can still head into retirement with his head held high, having delivered a legendary 19 year career in the sport that saw him win the UFC 17 middleweight tournament as well as claim titles in the PRIDE and Strikeforce organizations.
Along the way he fought a whos who of the sport and defeated the likes of Fedor Emelianenko, Wanderlei Silva, Vitor Belfort, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua, and of course Michael Bisping along the way.
With that in mind, it’s no surprise that White confirmed without hesitation on Saturday night that Henderson would be a future inductee into the UFC’s ‘Hall Of Fame’.