Dan Henderson (above) has wanted to fight Fedor Emelianenko for years. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Dan Henderson is not a heavyweight, but he thinks a matchup against one of the best heavyweight fighters of all time would be his best career move at this point.
Henderson is expected to fight Fedor Emelianenko on a July 30 Strikeforce card in Chicago, according to ESPN.com. In his most recent bout, Henderson won the Strikeforce light heavyweight championship by stopping Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante in March. From Henderson’s vantage, he doesn’t have an immediate challenger for the belt he now wears.
Gegard Mousasi drew with Keith Jardine in April in a fight that could have created a contender. Mike Kyle has been injured and unable to bounce back from a heavyweight loss to Antonio Silva. In Henderson’s view, Fedor is the best option.
“I think that fight, as far as in Strikeforce, it’s the one that makes the most sense right now,” Henderson said during an April 27 “Savage Dog Show” interview on the Sherdog Radio Network. “It’s a big fight. All the fans want to see it.”
The matchup will be the last bout on Henderson’s current deal with Strikeforce. He signed with the promotion after leaving the Zuffa-owned UFC, and of course recently Zuffa purchased Strikeforce as well.
“I was in the dark, as a lot of other people were too,” Henderson said of the sale. “I was probably just waking up and had a few texts already from people that had heard the news in the morning. My first thought was to call bulls--t on it, but it was what it was. Like I said, I didn’t know how to react and what that was going to do for me and I still don’t really until I start negotiating a new contract.”
Henderson acknowledged that after hearing about the sale he contacted UFC President Dana White.
“I might have just texted him saying, ‘Couldn’t leave me alone? Had to go and buy Strikeforce too?’ Something like that,” Henderson said. “I’ve never been on bad terms with him. It was all about business, and I had a better offer. That’s what it came down to. I’ve always appreciated what they’ve done for me and the sport. I do have mixed feelings about them buying Strikeforce. It could be a good thing for me, but not so sure how good it is for the sport.”
Henderson has traded shots with White in the past, but the fighter emphasized it was in good fun. Other moves, like the UFC not exactly welcoming Henderson’s Clinch Gear clothing company as a sponsor after he’d left, were just business in Henderson’s opinion.
“I know that Dana’s Dana, and he’s going to sell fights no matter how he does it and talk whatever s--t he’s going to talk when things don’t go his way,” Henderson said. “I never took anything personally and I’ve never said anything bad about them other than maybe he’s a little bit chubby and it looks like he got a boob job recently.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 2:03:45).