Dan Henderson, the latest major addition to the Strikeforce roster has today been discussing his decision to leave the UFC and join the up and coming promotion.
Here’s what he had to say on the official press release to announce his signing.
“I’m very happy to be a part of STRIKEFORCE and their partnership with CBS and SHOWTIME.
STRIKEFORCE and its growing roster of world class talent will offer me many exciting fights and has the ability to bring many new fans from all around the world to mixed martial arts. I am grateful to (STRIKEFORCE Founder and CEO) Scott Coker for the opportunity to help make this happen and for treating me with the utmost respect throughout our negotiations
I’d also like to thank Dana (White) and the UFC for the opportunities they provided me and I wish them ongoing success. I’ll continue to watch their events and I hope they’ll tune in to my fights in STRIKEFORCE. After all, I’m a true fan of our fantastic sport and would love only to see MMA continue to grow.”
Later, Henderson spoke to the media about his decision to sign for Strikeforce.
Talking to sherdog.com, Henderson went into more detail about his reasons for joining Strikeforce rather than re-signing with the UFC.
“The decision was based on a number of things. It wasn’t just a financial thing. It was the fact that I felt I wasn’t getting the fight that I wanted in the UFC. That was a big part of that — that I wasn’t and that it got yanked away from me. I think I stepped up for the UFC a number of times and had earned that right again for a title fight. And the fact that publicity-wise, CBS offers quite a bit more than a pay-per-view and Spike TV.”
When asked by Josh Gross at Sports Illustrated how he felt at turning his back on a potential rematch with UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, Henderson didn’t rule out the possibility of the fight happening further down the line.
“Anderson Silva is a big challenge and is somebody I wanted to fight just to be able to beat him. I didn’t feel like I fought up to my potential the first time. Who knows what the future may have. I may fight him in the future.”
For now it appears that he has his hands full with a number of potential title match-ups in Strikeforce.
“Strikeforce still offers me quite a few challenges. Jake Shields is pretty much running through 185, and Gegard Mousasi is pretty much running through 205. Fedor is always an option as well.”
As for Dana White’s assertion that Henderson isn’t a big pay-per-view star, the fighter appears ready to put the theory to the test.
“We’ll end up seeing if it’s true or not in Strikeforce. Pay-per-view-wise, I haven’t had the opportunity to prove what I can do being the main event since The Ultimate Fighter. I would say my five fights that I had in the UFC, everyone of them was sold out I believe. I’m sure that I had a little bit to do with that.”
Henderson’s manager Aaron Crecy also responded to Dana White’s criticism over the fighter’s star power.
“Dan has nothing but fond memories of his time with the UFC and appreciates the opportunities that were provided to him by Lorenzo, Frank and Dana. He enjoyed three of his five fights being headliners and being on the main card for his other two fights. He also appreciates being awarded ‘Knockout of the Night’ at the biggest show in UFC history, being a coach on ‘The Ultimate Fighter 9’ and was grateful that they continued to compete with Strikeforce for his services. Dan is really comfortable with his decision to move forward with Strikeforce and wishes the UFC continued success as well.”