UFC: Dan Henderson on moving to MW, testing, Bisping, Vitor, contract negotiations & more

The UFC has suffered two heavy blows to their roster over the course of the last three months. With Georges St. Pierre stepping away…

By: Stephie Haynes | 10 years ago
UFC: Dan Henderson on moving to MW, testing, Bisping, Vitor, contract negotiations & more
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

The UFC has suffered two heavy blows to their roster over the course of the last three months. With Georges St. Pierre stepping away from the sport and Anderson Silva very likely facing a year layoff or a possible retirement, the small handful of big PPV draws they had -of which Silva and GSP were included-have taken a big hit. There are only so many times Ronda Rousey and Jon Jones can fight in a year, so many have been left looking for a solution.

The answer, at least in part, has been there all along, though. Dan Henderson, despite the recent dents on his fight resume, still carries the power of name recognition, experience and skill. His career is far from over, and to look past him as an opportunity to beef up those PPV numbers would be foolhardy. The interest in the rematch with Shogun has fans excited and just goes to show that he can still create excitement and anticipation for the UFC.

In a recent interview with Bloody Elbow, Henderson discusses his new contract, why he feels a rematch with Michael Bisping isn’t necessary, and how moving down to Middleweight is still a very viable option. Here’s what he had to say:

Getting Full Market Value

I think for the up and coming guys that aren’t going to be paid a whole lot anyway, and are trying to make it into the market, it doesn’t affect them as bad as it does the top guys, now that Strikeforce is gone. Basically, there’s nowhere else to go.

Bellator & WSOF

I know that Bellator is trying to make it, but they’re spending a lot more money than they’re bringing in. I’m not really sure about the World Series. I do think they’re doing things a little more economically. There’s really no other companies out there that are able to pay what the UFC is paying their top guys. Basically, you’ve got to take what you get sometimes. On the flip side of that, the UFC has built their organization big enough to be able to pay the top guys pretty decent, so you can’t really complain too much about them.


My agent usually talks with their attorneys. From there, they run it by Dana and Lorenzo, and occasionally, they get on a call with all of them together-Dana, Lorenzo and the attorneys.

You know, I kind of had to swallow my pride a little bit and take a pay cut. They are giving me a chance to get back where I was if I get some wins on the books, though. It could be worse, but it could be better, as well.


Yeah, I would definitely consider going down, especially now that Vitor is getting a title shot. I definitely wouldn’t mind getting a rematch.

Vitor Belfort

I don’t think he’ll get an exemption, unless they go and change all their standards.


I think they could add random testing to guys that need the exemptions or have applied for them, or have tested positive before. As a matter of fact, they could give random testing to everybody.

Michael Bisping

I don’t see why I would need to give him a rematch. It’s not like he’s been doing so great. He’s been doing pretty well, then he loses. Then he does okay for a fight or two and then he loses. He hasn’t ever had a title shot. Besides, there’s no way-and I don’t care if I knock him out every time I fight him-there’s no way I could do it better than I did the last time. That one is hard to beat. Why even try? I’d rather leave it the way it is.

Career High

It’s tough to say. Definitely knocking out Wanderlei and getting that PRIDE belt. Knocking out Fedor is pretty high on the list, and the Feijao KO leading to the belt was good, too. I know a lot of people loved the Bisping knockout because they saw TUF and got to see what kind of person he was, and they wanted him knocked out. It’s hard to pick just one.

Dependency On Punching Power

There’s probably a little validity to the idea that I use my striking more these days, but that’s how I finish guys the best. Guys are pretty good at defending submissions now. I can pull them off, but it’s not my best area. The most efficient way for me to finish a fight is to knock them out.

I do use my wrestling a lot to stay on my feet. Against Rashad, I defended quite a few takedowns. I could be taking guys down a little bit more, and just try to hump out a decision, but I know it’s more exciting to watch guys stand up and fight. I know that’s what the fans want to see. That’s pretty much the primary reason.

MMA Past, Present & Future

I think the lowest point was not too long after I got started. MMA was originally marketed the wrong way, more as a spectacle than a sport. I think they got dumped off cable TV for a while, where you could only get it from satellite PPV. That’s when Zuffa stepped in and bought it, and they’ve grown it and taken it in the right direction. I don’t know what the future is, but hopefully they can makes some changes that will benefit the athletes a little more.

Long Term Impact On The Body

I think basic wear and tear is the biggest thing I’ll be looking at down the road. My body feels better now than when I was wrestling. There’s less competitions. Fighting three times a year rather than five or six times in a weekend, multiple times a year is always better. Your body does get beat up, but not nearly as bad if I were competing all the time.

I’ve been pretty good at not getting knocked silly too much, both in fights and training. I mean, it’s happened here and there, but for the most part, I think I’ve learned to move my head out of the way fairly well. I think I’ve been pretty safe with my training, and I’ve stayed pretty healthy.

Mindset Following 1st KO Loss

I’m aggressive on my terms, and that was the problem in the Vitor fight. I kind of hesitated for a second. I was thinking about what I should do next instead of knowing what to do already. In that instant of indecision, I got caught. I’d like to think that it hasn’t affected me at all.

Matt Lindland Possibly Coaching US Wrestling Team

I have no idea how Matt would do as a coach. I’ve had some issues over the years with him, so I probably shouldn’t comment here.

I might end up coaching some wrestling when my son gets to high school. Beyond that, I probably won’t be coaching any further. I’ve been in MMA for so long, that I’ve developed certain systems and I’d prefer to work with my team here rather than coaching wrestling.

You can follow Dan via his Twitter account, @DanHendo

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About the author
Stephie Haynes
Stephie Haynes

Stephie Haynes has been covering MMA since 2005. She has also worked for MMA promotion Proelite and apparel brand TapouT. She hosted TapouT’s official radio show for four years before joining Bloody Elbow in 2012. She has interviewed everyone there is to interview in the fight game from from Dana White to Conor McGregor to Kimbo Slice, as well as mainstream TV, film and music stars including Norman Reedus, RZA and Anthony Bourdain. She has been producing the BE podcast network since 2017 and hosts four of its current shows.

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