Dan Henderson (above) wanted in Strikeforce's heavyweight tournament pool. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Dan Henderson is not a heavyweight, but he told Strikeforce he’d consider competing in the promotion’s upcoming heavyweight tournament.
“They had kind of approached me about fighting in that heavyweight tournament just to see how I’d feel about it,” Henderson revealed recently during a “Savage Dog Show” interview on the Sherdog Radio Network. “I told them I was open to it. It was interesting. Definitely a huge challenge, and that’s one of the reasons why I’m still in the sport, just to challenge myself.”
Henderson is no stranger to fighting in tournaments or against heavier competition. After winning two four-man tournaments to start his career, he captured the 32-man Rings “King of Kings” field in February 2000. En route to the finals he won a split decision over future heavyweight great Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.
“I think there’s a couple of matchups that would have been interesting for me or fun to do,” Henderson said of the Strikeforce tournament. “I don’t think I would have won the tournament by any means, but possibly. Of course I said that when I went into that Rings ‘King of Kings’ tournament. I didn’t think I was going to win it, but I was going to do my best.”
Henderson, who has competed as light as 183 pounds, said his participation was nixed because Strikeforce had no trouble finding heavyweights. The field is strong with Fedor Emelianenko, Alistair Overeem, Fabricio Werdum, Antonio Silva, Andrei Arlovski, Sergei Kharitonov, Josh Barnett and Brett Rogers.
The tournament will play out over multiple events, meaning no one will have to fight more than once in a single night. Although Henderson understands the value of letting fighters come in fresh, he doesn’t disagree with how tournaments were run earlier in his career either. On four occasions he fought multiple times in the same night.
“There’s also something to seeing what some of these fighters are made of on the inside and making them push through two or three fights in a night,” Henderson said.
Strikeforce plans on completing the tournament this year, meaning someone will have to win three fights in 2011. Henderson likes the odds on two fighters in particular.
“I would probably have to put money on either Fedor or Overeem,” he said. “Overeem hasn’t really been tested lately past the first few minutes of a fight. He’s a monster. He’s a beast these days.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:19:18) with Henderson, who also discussed his upcoming fight against Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante.
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