There is still some fight left in 44-year-old Dan Henderson. | File photo: TJ De Santis/Sherdog.com
Dan Henderson may be in the twilight of his career, but it doesn’t sound like he plans on riding off into the sunset just yet.
The 44-year-old former Strikeforce and Pride Fighting Championships titlist suffered a disappointing loss to Gegard Mousasi in the UFC on Fox 14 co-main event on Saturday, succumbing to a right hand to the temple and follow-up punches 1:10 into round one at Tele2 Arena in Stockholm. It was “Hendo’s” fifth loss in his last six Octagon appearances.
Henderson, who sported a makeshift eye patch to the post-fight press conference, brushed aside any questions about retirement, instead choosing to focus on the recovery from the ieye njury he suffered early in the middleweight bout.
“My eyelid was sliced open. I knew something was wrong when I couldn’t see out of it,” he explained. “It didn’t feel like a hard punch, but I just couldn’t see. It was real blurry out of the one eye. And then Gegard started pointing at it. I just felt like if they had looked at it, it would’ve been stopped.”
With his vision less than 100 percent and the fear of a doctor stoppage looming, Henderson went after Mousasi with an increased sense of urgency. The change in approach ultimately led to his demise.
“I went in to pressure him. He clipped me a little bit. You guys saw what happened. I just felt like I didn’t really get in there to fight. I didn’t get an opportunity,” Henderson said. “It’s unfortunate the way it happened. It just sucks.”
Henderson, who attempted to grab Mousasi’s leg just as the fight was halted, was not pleased with the stoppage. It was just the second knockout loss of the Californian’s 43-bout career but his second since 2013. In addition, the Team Quest founder has been knocked down 15 times in UFC and Pride competition, according to FightMetric.com. Despite those troubling statistics, Henderson insists that he feels healthy and is not concerned about any potential head trauma.
“Tonight I felt fine the whole time. It was just one of those things,” he said. “I’m real careful in practice and train smart and I feel good. It was just an unfortunate thing tonight. I feel completely fine and healthy.”
Once his eye is healed, Henderson expects to continue to compete at 185 pounds rather than light heavyweight. He signed a six-fight contract with the UFC at the beginning of 2014. As of Saturday night, he has fulfilled half of that deal.
“My body felt great. I felt fine. I just had an unfortunate thing happen and that’s the way it goes,” he said. “The weight cut was fairly easy. I naturally weigh fairly light anyway. I was kind of tired of pushing around these big boys.”