Does Dan Henderson become the GOAT with a victory over Jon Jones?

With UFC title challenger Dan Henderson recently stating that he does not care about the effect a win over Jon Jones would have on his legacy, the question of him being the best ever has to be brought up. Should Henderson gain UFC gold by defeating Jon Jones at UFC 151, his name should at least be put into the mix alongside Anderson Silva and Fedor Emelianenko. This is a touchy conversation, so let’s take a look at both the reasons why and why not.

First of all, if he does beat the dominant champion Jones, it would make him the proud owner of two PRIDE titles, a RINGS championship, a UFC tournament title, and finally a UFC belt, the only title he never owned. This is quite a resume,one that is tough to argue against. I personally think a victory at UFC 151 does make Dan Henderson the greatest fighter of all time. I know Anderson Silva beat him. It was a good fight, I would like to see a rematch. Anderson Silva is on a fifteen-fight win streak, demolishing everyone in his path. Some of these wins were over much lesser competition, such as Patrick Cote and Thales Leites. Henderson fought the best and the baddest his whole career. If they weren’t at the top, such as Renato Sobral, he simply demolished them. However, Silva has not had the cross-promotional, all-encompassing success that Henderson has found. Silva was actually released from PRIDE. With a UFC belt, Henderson’s legacy is just unable to be matched. No one will do what he has done, simply because there is not that many promotions considered relevant anymore.

Is he better than the legendary Fedor Emelianenko? While Henderson’s run in PRIDE was quite amazing, no fighter will ever match that of Fedor. He was simply the best at the time, and it lasted for quite awhile. However, his success did not translate over to other promotions. He met Henderson in the Strikeforce arena last summer, rocking him to the point of what looked like an emphatic, defining knockout for The Last Emperor. However, somehow Dan Henderson weathered the onslaught and caught Fedor with an unlikely punch to knock him out. Quite the fight in my eyes, by both men. Fedor Emelianenko will always be one of the greatest fighters ever, and one of my favorites. But he never fought in the UFC, something that could have cemented his legacy as the GOAT. Henderson was well-traveled throughout his career and that serves him well in this conversation.

Henderson has a tall task ahead of him, to beat the man no one has figured out in Jones. A loss does not tarnish his legacy, but a win may define it completely. If he should pull the improbable and defeat the seemingly unbeatable Jones, it is tough to say he is not the greatest fighter of all time. He participated in arguably the greatest fight of all time versus Shogun Rua last November at UFC 139. His knockouts are legendary, the stuff of highlight reels that MMA is lacking in a downtime of endless decisions and injury-plagued cards. Will Henderson defeat the surging, nigh-indestructible Jones? Perhaps not, but if he should, the argument against him being the greatest of all time will grow increasingly tougher.



50 Comments

  1. Profile photo of Malik Anwar

    Malik Anwar

    July 28, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    i would love to see hendo win however i dont see it happening.
    Jones has too much reach advantage.
    he has a better stand up
    better grappling
    better submissions
    Better cardio
    the only Advantage Hendo has is his H bomb.
    and i pray to God it lands.
    it would be a WOW moment.

    and then i can garrantee a rematch with Aderson Silva
    wow that would be soo big

  2. Profile photo of HATEOCRACY

    HATEOCRACY

    July 28, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    He may be old as one or smells like one but until he beats Silva its hard to determine if he’s GOAT

  3. Profile photo of KeithFarrell

    KeithFarrell

    July 28, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    I would say a close maybe but him being beaten by Shields (who has struggled to get wins at WW) and destroyed by Silva make it hard to put him in front of the afore mentioned Silva, in terms of G.O.A.T

  4. Profile photo of UnderdogGreatness

    UnderdogGreatness

    July 28, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    After swinging his wild and unsuccessful H-Bomb(s), Jon Jones will slowly begin to pick him apart. Furthermore, he will get taken down with ease, then eventually submitted.

    Jon Jones Via sub – Round 3

    No, Henderson would not become the G.O.A.T if he somehow beat Jones. He would most likely be viewed as one of the top 3 – 4 best fighters of all time.

  5. Profile photo of BearAttacks

    BearAttacks

    July 28, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    He will always be one of the greatest but not the greatest fighter.

  6. Profile photo of Entity

    Entity

    July 28, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    Unfortunately kids watching old navy war flicks know more about subs than Dan does. Dan will still always be one of my favorites. His fights usually impress, but there have been some bad matches as well.

  7. Profile photo of D

    D

    July 28, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    First of all, Hendo is not going to beat Jones. I’m a big Hendo fan, but he’s a massive underdog at +375 right now, and I honestly don’t think that’s high enough, and here’s why.

    Wrestling/grappling: Jones’ MMA wrestling is phenomenal. He has been able to outgrapple Rashad Evans, QuintonJackson, and Shogun Rua. Henderson fought two of those guys and was outgrappled by both (Rua and Jackson). While I know “MMA math doesn’t work,” common opponents are certainly relevant. He was also manhandled and controlled for 4 rounds by Jake Shields, who is a much smaller guy even if he is one of the best grapplers in MMA. Nobody has ever been able to handle Jones’ wrestling, and while Hendo is a great wrestler and former Olympian, he has been outwrestled several times.

    Striking: Jones several huge advantages here. Obviously, his reach is the first problem. The only guy to come close to dealing with it has been Machida, and Henderson does not have his deceptiveness, timing or hand speed. He will never be able to mimick Machida’s style. Jones also is a much more diverse striker. He uses leg kicks, front kicks, spinning back kicks, fists and elbows, while Henderson pretty much only throws punches. In short, Jones has better size, reach, speed, and athleticism and has more weapons at his disposal. Henderson’s only chance is to land his patented H-Bomb, and I don’t see him being able to close the distance to give himself that chance.

    Jones will pick Hendo apart on the feet, and finish the fight on the ground whenever he chooses to take it there. He has great submissions and nasty ground and pound, so he can stop Hendo any way he wants. Like I said, I’m a Hendo fan, and I appreciate the great entertainment he has provided over the years, but this is not a close matchup. Jones is going to destroy him.

    In my mind, if he somehow does land the H-Bomb and beat Jones, he is still not the GOAT. He lost to Silva, and he lost decisively. I honestly don’t think a rematch would produce a different result. Right now, Silva is the GOAT, and Hendo would have to avenge that loss to unseat him. Beating Jones won’t change that.

  8. Profile photo of Brasil

    Brasil

    July 28, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    Man if Hendo wins it will me an epic moment….with that they could have the Goat move up and put his goat belt at play against Hendo….the winner would also be granted the LHW belt but that would be minor compared to the epicness of the GOAT belt…..also to complete this pipe dream we could finally have Machida at MW where he belongs and would dominate….let me wake up now because Jones cant be defeated.

  9. Profile photo of FE4

    FE4

    July 29, 2012 at 12:11 am

    One thing is for sure, like Anderson, he has one of the greatest knockouts of all time. You can’t go anywhere without seeing Bisping at the end of his fist or Belfort at the end of Silvas foot.lol Dans done some awesome things in his long career. To say hes the Greatest is arguable, even with a win over Jones, but to say he’s a legend is an undeniable fact.

  10. Profile photo of griffin

    griffin

    July 29, 2012 at 1:42 am

    anderson silva will forever be the GOAT but if hendo win it would be hard not to put him in atleast top 5

  11. Profile photo of griffin

    griffin

    July 29, 2012 at 1:44 am

    in the shields fight i think if not for the hard weight cut round 2 would look a lot like rnd 1 and he woulda finished jake. despite how good of shape and fighter hendo is you cant forget the dude is old

  12. Profile photo of KeithFarrell

    KeithFarrell

    July 29, 2012 at 1:51 am

    Perfect sum of of the Jones Hendo match up

  13. Profile photo of KeithFarrell

    KeithFarrell

    July 29, 2012 at 1:52 am

    Hendo is top 5 right now! I put him at 3

  14. Profile photo of IChokePeople

    IChokePeople

    July 29, 2012 at 1:52 am

    No. Hendo was never as good as Fedor. They both fought stupidly and both got rocked. Fedor’s chin gave out first. That is how it goes when you go blow for blow like bar room drunks. If Fedor had fought intelligently instead of trying to put on a show against a guy he thought he couldn’t lose to he would have won. Hendo is also and never will be as good as Anderson. At this time the only guys with a claim to the title GOAT are Anderson Silva and Fedor Emelianenko. Hendo is an amazing age defying god of war but not the GOAT and beating JJ (which I doubt will happen) will not change that.

  15. Profile photo of KeithFarrell

    KeithFarrell

    July 29, 2012 at 1:56 am

    Right now I have the top 3 as:

    Anderson Silva
    Fedor Emelianenko
    Dan Henderson

    After those 3 it gets blurry, you got to have guys like Bas, GSP, BJ, Wand all up there.

  16. Profile photo of KeithFarrell

    KeithFarrell

    July 29, 2012 at 1:57 am

    You can say what you want about Fedor Hendo but I think that fight happened as one fighter was going out and one was coming in to his best. Also the dominance Fedor had in prime edges out Hendo’s inconsistency.

  17. Profile photo of D

    D

    July 29, 2012 at 2:08 am

    My problem with that argument is Hendo is 6 years OLDER than Fedor. That tells me that the issue was not Fedor declining, but simply not improving while everybody else did. He was the greatest of his era, but there are several guys now who would wreck any version of him that ever existed.

  18. Profile photo of MMAW

    MMAW

    July 29, 2012 at 3:08 am

    If you were a real Hendo fan, you would know better than to count him out of a fight

  19. Profile photo of mindkontrolle

    mindkontrolle

    July 29, 2012 at 3:09 am

    If he H-Bombs Jones? Sure, I’d put Hendo as the GOAT, no doubt. That would be sick.

  20. Profile photo of Evan Holober

    Evan Holober

    July 29, 2012 at 3:32 am

    The hard weight cut? He cut about as much as Jake did when they fought.

    He gasses when he has to work off his back. After Jake landed the single leg at will he was done (that was before the first round was over).

  21. Profile photo of Evan Holober

    Evan Holober

    July 29, 2012 at 3:33 am

    If he was a real Hendo fan he would have seen fights against Franklin, Misaki, Lil Nog, Arona, etc…

  22. Profile photo of Evan Holober

    Evan Holober

    July 29, 2012 at 3:34 am

    BJ isn’t on this list anymore.

    GSP is ahead of Dan easily.

  23. Profile photo of Evan Holober

    Evan Holober

    July 29, 2012 at 3:34 am

    Simple answer, no.

  24. Profile photo of Evan Holober

    Evan Holober

    July 29, 2012 at 3:45 am

    Would you go with several?

    Jon Jones, JDS, Cain and Anderson get a maybe, Werdum, and Overeem on roids.

    Those are the only guys I could think of that would destroy any version of Fedor.

  25. Profile photo of silvaisking2321

    silvaisking2321

    July 29, 2012 at 3:59 am

    yess silva would make him sleep again! or he almost went out the 1st time

  26. Profile photo of D

    D

    July 29, 2012 at 6:43 am

    I didn’t count him out. I said he has a chance to land the H-Bomb. I just don’t see it happening. If you are rooting for that to happen, I understand. If you honestly think it will, you are delusional.

  27. Profile photo of D

    D

    July 29, 2012 at 6:44 am

    I saw those fights. Those guys aren’t Jon Jones. What’s your point?

  28. Profile photo of D

    D

    July 29, 2012 at 6:48 am

    several – (used with count nouns) of an indefinite number more than 2 or 3 but not many
    - http://www.thefreedictionary.com/several -

    You just named five, so I think you answered your own question.

  29. Profile photo of D

    D

    July 29, 2012 at 6:48 am

    *six

  30. Profile photo of random_mma

    random_mma

    July 29, 2012 at 8:41 am

    seems an interesting argument – supposing he wins versus Jones.
    at the age of 40 – a guy with wins over Fedor, Shogun and Jones really does look good on paper for GOAT.

    But AS’ streak in the UFC and on how he made it look easy, and Fedor’s dominance in Pride alone would definitely overtake Hendo’s profile of A-List fighters.

    Maybe if he does wins over Jones – then he provides a solid argument on current top P4P fighter.

    After all, we’re are all just an H-bomb away from seeing this happen (and I might just have a heart attack when this happens)

  31. Profile photo of xkingkishx

    xkingkishx

    July 29, 2012 at 10:05 am

    i see all of that except better grappling come on hendo is an olympian and jones went to juco right?

  32. Profile photo of ripstic5021

    ripstic5021

    July 29, 2012 at 10:40 am

    I don’t know about the greatest, but I sure hope he knockes Jones’ head off.

  33. Profile photo of whitemare

    whitemare

    July 29, 2012 at 11:15 am

    Reach only gives you an advantage when you are in the right range. We haven’t seen anyone force jones to move backwards. If Hendo stays on him and mixes up his attack he could be successful.

    The game changer in this fight is the takedowns. If hendo can score one early and keep jones guessing mixing up double legs and H bombs is when hendo is at his best.

    Jones is too smart to fall for the inside leg kick overhand right combo although its worked against everyone else so who knows

  34. Profile photo of ChuteBoxeHero

    ChuteBoxeHero

    July 29, 2012 at 11:16 am

    He already is IMO.

  35. Profile photo of toxic

    toxic

    July 29, 2012 at 11:31 am

    if he gets a W over jones and gets a fight with Anderson and comes out with another W he will be the greatest of all time for sure..

  36. Profile photo of grandslam

    grandslam

    July 29, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    Fcuk NO! Please get serious, cant start calling every fighter a GOAT.
    btw Hendo will loose in round 2 via TKO.

  37. Profile photo of mmagym

    mmagym

    July 29, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    the older you get the harder the weight cut, cos of slower metabolism!
    thats why he is back up to lhw

  38. Profile photo of mmagym

    mmagym

    July 29, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    wow, right on the money and you get that many weaks!

  39. Profile photo of Evan Holober

    Evan Holober

    July 29, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    My point was he can be beaten, by a bunch of different types of fighters. I was basically saying eventhough you are a fan, you understand he’s been beaten before and will get beat again.

  40. Profile photo of Evan Holober

    Evan Holober

    July 29, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    I understand what several means. And two of the guys I mentioned I parlayed with maybe.

    I’m not attacking your initial comment. I was trying to start a back and forth about the people you think beat any version of Fedor.

  41. Profile photo of David Saucier

    David Saucier

    July 29, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    dont forget Frank Shamrock after the top 3 the first real mixed martial artist, and founder of AKA

  42. Profile photo of D

    D

    July 30, 2012 at 2:18 am

    First of all, Fedor was a fantastic fighter, and his ability to take punishment and come back to pull off a finish when he needed it to win was amazing. It was a huge part of the reason he was able to have such a long win streak. He was incredibly fast for a HW, and always had one punch KO power. Because of those ability, it would be somewhat of a “maybe” anyone. However, I would pick several guys currently in the HW division to beat him in his prime.

    Also, as I believe I mentioned, I do not believe that Fedor’s skills and athleticism declined significantly, if at all, from the time he was the PRIDE HW Champion to his retirement. I think the guy that lost to Hendo was essentially the same guy that beat Big Nog 3 times – with marginally improved skills, and maybe a slight decline in ability to take punishiment. I simply believe he did not improve at the same rate as the HW division in general.

    The last guy to beat Fedor was Hendo, and he was the smallest guy Fedor ever fought. In my opinion, that was actually a disadvantage for Fedor, because he lost one of his biggest advantages that he had over every other opponent he had ever faced – his hand speed. Fedor not significantly bigger than many guys at 205 and even 185. Not only Jones, but several of the elite fighters at 205 would have good chances to do the same thing Hendo did against Fedor. I would pick Rashad Evans to beat him, because he has the wrestling to keep the fight on the feet, where I think his speed would give him the advantage. I would probably also pick Machida against him for essentially the same reasons. I think Anderson Silva would have a legitimate shot against him, but I would pick Fedor to get the fight to the ground somehow, and win via his nasty ground and pound. I would pick Fedor against Shogun for the same reason – I don’t think his TDD is good enough. Jones – great wrestling, huge reach advantage, incredible athlete. That fight is a mismatch.

    Now, at HW, I actually think his speed gives him better chances to beat the top guys still – as long as he could keep the fight standing. I would pick Cain and DC to beat him by taking him down and ground and pounding him like Bigfoot Silva did. I also think Carwin’s great chin, size and wrestling ability would allow him to take Fedor to the ground, even if he ate a shot or two in the process…and Carwin has the scariest ground and pound MMA has ever seen in my opinion. I don’t see Fedor getting out of that. I honestly believe JDS is the best striker the HW division has ever seen, and I would have to pick him to KO Fedor due to his combination of size, power, speed, and boxing skills. As good as Overeem is, he’s a little tougher to pick because he’s slower than Fedor, and his chin’s not great. I would actually go with Fedor there. I would also pick Fedor to beat Werdum nine times out of ten. He would know better than to play with Werdum’s guard again, and Werdum’s preferred method of getting a fight to the ground is to lie on his back, smile at his opponent, and beckon. As much as Werdum’s striking has improved, Fedor is still faster, more accurate, and much, much more powerful. I would pick him to win via KO.

    In summary, I would pick Rashad Evans, Jon Jones, Lyoto Machida, Shane Carwin, Daniel Cormier, Cain Velasquez, and Junior Dos Santos to beat Fedor. I would be pretty confident in picking Carwin, Jones and JDS, but I would not be shocked if he beat them, and I would not be shocked at all if he beat the other four guys. I’m going to have to back off the way I initially worded it (“would destroy”) because for the reasons I mentioned, Fedor has a legitimate ability to win any fight.

  43. Profile photo of xdecemberguy

    xdecemberguy

    July 30, 2012 at 2:28 am

    Wow all you guys saying Jones has a advantage in all these fields are crazy. Stand up=Hendo..when has Jones ever KO anybody? Grappling=Hendo he throws everything when he get a hold of you and doesn’t stop coming after your head. Ground game=Jones His vicious elbows are terrible news for who ever is on the bottom. Takedowns= Hendo better wrestling game. Cardo= Jones because he’s younger. Experience= Hendo in the game way longer than Jones. I see this coming down to who ever can Impose there will on the other fighter. I believe if Hendo is aggressive and just goes after Jones he will land more and come out on top. If he sits back and plays Jones game and lets him stay on the outside and throw those long shots. Jones is going to win.

  44. Profile photo of Dabs

    Dabs

    July 30, 2012 at 5:10 am

    Hendo will only ever be the greatest if he beats Jones then Silva. Jones alone won’t do it because Silva has an unbelievable record that puts him miles above the number two guy who is currently Jon Jones. GSP is third due to his limited fighting style.

  45. Profile photo of Evan Holober

    Evan Holober

    July 30, 2012 at 6:10 am

    I would agree with you there then.

    What would stop me from picking Cain (as I said I would give him a maybe), Rashad, and Machida against him are their chins. Machida has been KO’d before by a less skilled/powerful puncher, and I think Fedor’s deceptive speed would cause Lyoto problems. Rashad tends to get rocked every once in a while, and I think Fedor would land and hurt him ala the Machida fight. Cain has been rocked a couple times now in his career, but if he can close those areas up I think he’d have a good chance. Cormier is anomaly. He’s so good, but he tends to coast/break his hands in every fight. I think that would prove detrimental to a guy like Fedor, but I would also place him in the “maybe” category.

    Carwin I’m afraid (if betting on him) would gas. He’s got a shit load of muscle, and drops off greatly if the fight even makes a second round.

    Anderson IMO would destroy any version Fedor. He’s so wild, and it worked for the most part, but I feel that Silva’s accuracy would lay him out quickly.

  46. Profile photo of D

    D

    July 30, 2012 at 8:19 am

    All valid points. I personally don’t totally agree on your points about Rashad and Machida…yes, they have been KO’d before, but I don’t think Shogun is any less skilled of a striker, and I don’t think Fedor’s speed would be anything special at 205. Like I said, I would not be surprised if he proved you right.

    With Carwin, you would be right IF Fedor could survive to the later rounds. But I don’t think he would. If he took Fedor down, even once, I don’t think Fedor would get back up again without the ref’s help. Carwin’s ground and pound is terrifying.

    With Silva, my argument was based on Fedor getting the fight to the ground, which I think he could do with his size and sambo skills. If the fight stayed standing, I think you would be absolutely right.

  47. Profile photo of Kevin

    Kevin

    July 31, 2012 at 8:30 am

    I don’t see Hendo making it out of the 2nd, and he’ll probably be close to losing in the first. However; its hard to ever count out a guy who will put you on every sports show on television if you get in the way of that BOMB!

  48. Profile photo of Nemesis

    Nemesis

    July 31, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    This must be a troll thread. The argument against him being the greatest of all time will grow tougher only for people who had trouble making competent arguments for anything in the first place.

    If hendo beats jones, it shows exposes jones and SERIOUSLY damages his legacy as well as making anderson silva look that much better,and then we’ll probably see a rematch with basically the same result.

  49. Profile photo of TheRealDeal

    TheRealDeal

    July 31, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    The picture of Bisping going stiff totally distracted me and I could not stop laughing…….again…….
    What is this article about??

  50. Profile photo of TheRealDeal

    TheRealDeal

    July 31, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    What? I fell asleep trying to read this comment.

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