The UFC 204 headliner has the looks of a farewell fight, and not just because Dan Henderson has said that he plans on retiring if he takes the middleweight title from Michael Bisping on Saturday night in Manchester.
It isn’t hard to imagine that if Bisping avenges the oft-replayed knockout loss to Henderson at UFC 100, he would be tempted to ride off into the sunset. However, “The Count” says he still has more fighting to do, although whatever decision he makes will not be with the UFC’s best interest in mind.
“No, I’m not retiring. I’m earning too much money to retire,” Bisping said on the UFC “Unfiltered” podcast. “Here’s the thing: Whatever I do, and all respect to the UFC, but I’m not out here thinking, ‘What’s the best thing for the UFC middleweight division?’ That is not my thought. I’m not putting myself through all this agony and hard work, getting punched in the face on a daily basis, so I can benefit the UFC. I’m trying to benefit Michael Bisping and Michael Bisping's family. Plain and simple.
“The UFC’s middleweight division can go f--k themselves. I’ll do what’s right by me. And what’s right by me is beating the f--k out of Dan Henderson, and beating the f--k out of a few more people as well and getting paid,” he continued. “When I decide to retire, whether or not it’s with the belt or without the belt, I don’t give a f--k if it’s the best thing for the UFC middleweight division.”
Bisping also disputes the notion that Henderson will call it a career if he adds the UFC middleweight belt to a trophy case that already includes titles in Strikeforce and Pride Fighting Championships. The 46-year-old Henderson is just 3-6 in the Octagon since 2013, but a surprise knockout win over Hector Lombard at UFC 199 -- coupled with his well-documented history with Bisping -- netted him this golden opportunity.
“Dan Henderson’s full of s--t,” Bisping said. “If Dan Henderson wins this fight, he ain’t gonna retire, and that’s a fact. Dan Henderson is saying that he’s gonna retire because he knows he’s not gonna win this fight. There’s a reason why he says he’s going to retire. That’s because his body is too old and beat up. He can’t take steroids anymore. He can’t manipulate the system. He can’t cheat. So he’s saying, I’m f---ing done.
“All right, he’s had a great career, but a lot of it was fueled by artificial testosterone. You can’t do that anymore. He’s made some money. Good for him. He’s had a good career. He knows he’s calling it a day.”