Henderson Prefers 205-Pound Menu

By Brian Knapp Mar 5, 2011
Dan Henderson (Pictured) enjoys life at 205 pounds, particularly the dietary side of it.

The two-time Olympian will challenge champion Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante for the light heavyweight championship in the Strikeforce “Feijao vs. Henderson” main event on Saturday at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Henderson welcomes the tradeoff that comes with competing at a heavier weight class.

“One of the benefits of fighting at 205 is I get to enjoy my food,” Henderson said during a pre-fight press conference. “One of the drawbacks is I have to fight guys [Cavalcante’s] size.”

Four of Henderson’s previous six appearances were at middleweight, including his failed Strikeforce debut against Jake Shields in April. The 40-year-old returned to the 205-pound division with a vengeance three months ago in St. Louis, as he steamrolled Renato “Babalu” Sobral in less than two minutes at the Scottrade Center. Still the only man to hold major MMA titles in two weight classes simultaneously, Henderson has not won a championship fight since he knocked out Wanderlei Silva under the Pride Fighting Championships banner in February 2007. Few, however, have more big-fight experience.

“I don’t feel any added pressure fighting for the title,” Henderson said. “Every fight for the last few years has been pretty big.”

The world-ranked Cavalcante has posted six wins in his last seven outings and will enter the cage on the strength of a three-fight winning streak. The 30-year-old Brazilian trains alongside the last man to finish Henderson -- UFC middleweight king Anderson Silva.

“He’s a different fighter than Anderson Silva, so it doesn’t matter that they train together, and I think I’ve improved a lot since I fought Anderson,” Henderson said. “A lot of the techniques are similar in MMA. You just have to look at your opponent and their technique and tweak your game plan a little bit.”

One of MMA’s most accomplished competitors, Henderson holds victories over Brazilian icon Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, 2006 Pride welterweight grand prix winner Kazuo Misaki, one-time UFC light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort, former UFC middleweight titleholder Rich Franklin and “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 3 winner Michael Bisping. He remains as driven as ever.

“Obviously, I wouldn’t be here if winning a world title wasn’t one of my goals, but the challenge of fighting someone like Feijao is exciting,” said Henderson, who turns 41 in August. “He’s big, he’s tough and he’s strong. I would definitely enjoy having the belt, but the reason I fight is for the challenge.”
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