Can Dan Henderson Stay Afloat At Light-Heavyweight Against All Odds?
(OK Dan, so first off you let the guy hit you maybe 40 times, THEN you go for the knockout)
Dan Henderson took part in yet another classic MMA battle this past Saturday; coming back from behind to blast Mauricio Rua in the third round of their UFC Fight Night 38 main event. The bout was a rematch of their UFC 139 classic, and for many fans, it lived up to the hype. One thing to consider from Henderson’s epic win is, where he will go next? He has already stated that the belt is his final goal, but does he realistically stand a chance against a champion like Jon Jones?
Obviously the main thing to address is Hendo’s age; at 43, he is no spring chicken, or even a spring chicken’s uncle. In MMA terms, Henderson is an aged veteran that has been toughened by his countless battles. The very same battles that created the iron-headed, grizzled, war-torn animal that defeated Shogun this past Sunday will eventually compound in one big question for Hendo; Should I retire or not? That means the TRT issue should be addressed.
First off, I don’t think testosterone-replacement makes better fighters (and never has), but its physical impact is undeniable. A recent report from a very high-standing physician details the impact that stopping the treatment can have on recipients. So there is the issue of the age gap between Henderson and the rest of the top talent at 205 pounds, there is also the withdrawal and physical symptoms from stopping TRT, but his last performance opened the door to some questions. First off, how much more damage can the former Pride FC champion take?
A lot of fans though Hendo was out a few times in the early goings against Rua last Sunday, and Vitor Belfort once again proved anyone can be knocked out when he fought him. Added to that is the amount of punishment that ‘Dangerous Dan’ absorbed at UFC 139: Shogun clocked Hendo 161 times to the head. That’s some serious damage to take. In his last five fights, Henderson has taken more nasty shots than some fighters may take in 15 outings; it leads me to have genuine concerns for his health should he attempt another title run.
Heavy hitters like Daniel Cormier, Glover Teixeira and Alexander Gustafsson could easily cause long-term damage to a man half Henderson’s age. Hendo has made a career out of proving people wrong, but there comes a time in every fighter’s career where they expire. My main concern is that Henderson goes to the ‘H-Bomb’ well one too many times, and takes too much punishment in the process.
Of course Henderson seems motivated to fight on, and if the TRT turkey doesn’t get him, a taller, younger and hungrier light heavyweight will probably put an end to the legendary career of Dan Henderson. What do you think? Does he have one last title run in his seemingly endless bag of tricks?