Henderson has been saying it for years: He does not enjoy
fighting at middleweight.
The former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion is currently
focused on his return to the UFC against Mauricio Rua
in the main event of UFC
139 on Nov. 19. However, the decorated veteran admits that
there is one enticing fight out there that could lure him into
another rodeo at 185 pounds.
“There’s only one fight I’d probably want at middleweight, and
Silva,” Henderson (Pictured, file photo) said during Tuesday’s
UFC 139 press conference in San Jose, Calif. “I'm not fond of
cutting weight at this point.”
Though the fight with Silva was apparently discussed for
Henderson’s first bout back in the Octagon, the conversation was
halted when it was learned the Brazilian had suffered a shoulder
injury in his most recent title defense against Yushin
“[Silva] was hurt in that fight [at UFC 134]. He’s got bursitis in
his shoulder, so the doctor told him to lay off for eight weeks,”
said UFC President Dana White, dismissing the idea that Silva was
avoiding a rematch with Henderson. “Anderson Silva has fought
everybody. It’s not like he’s ducking fights. He’s never ducked a
fight. If [Henderson’s bout with Rua] goes right and Dan wants to
cut that weight, then we can talk about Anderson Silva.”
A former two-division titleholder in Pride Fighting Championships,
Henderson was defeated by “The Spider” in 2008. Following three
more wins in the Octagon, Henderson departed for Strikeforce after
contract negotiations stalled with the UFC in 2009.
Henderson’s last appearance at middleweight came in his April 2010
Strikeforce debut, when he faced then-champion Jake Shields
for the 185-pound title. After cutting 19 pounds in less than 24
hours due to issues with prescribed medication leading up to the
bout, “Hendo” was noticeably drained in the contest.
Though he nearly finished the fight early in the first frame after
dropping Shields with a signature overhand right, the 41-year-old
could not seal the deal. Instead, the resilient Shields survived
and won rounds two through five, taking Henderson down and
dominating him with superior ground work.
Returning to light heavyweight, Henderson responded by running
through three consecutive opponents, knocking out Renato
Sobral in December and then relieving Rafael
Cavalcante of his consciousness three months later to win the
Strikeforce 205-pound title. Most recently, the heavy-handed
American fought at heavyweight, putting away longtime Pride
Emelianenko in just over four minutes.
With few intriguing challengers looming on the horizon in
Strikeforce, Henderson found himself negotiating his way back into
“Every time I win a title somewhere, Dana has to buy the company to
get me back,” Henderson joked, referring to Zuffa, LLC’s purchases
of Pride and Strikeforce. “The best matchups for me are in the UFC.
... I felt like I fought some of the tougher guys in Strikeforce,
[ending with] my last one with Fedor. Beyond that, I wasn’t excited
about anybody coming up, other than guys who were going to be in
Whether Henderson will ever get another shot at Silva remains to be
seen. However, the Greco-Roman specialist will likely have no
shortage of intriguing possibilities for however long he continues
to compete in the Octagon.
The American built much of his reputation during his days competing
in Japan, winning titles in Pride and Rings. With the UFC’s return
to the Land of the Rising Sun coming in February, Henderson says he
would enjoy the opportunity to compete in Japan once more.
“It would be fun to go back and fight in Japan,” said Henderson. “I
fought there for many years and I enjoyed the fans, so it would be
fun to get back over there.”