Fan-favorite light heavyweight Dan Henderson may have a significant task ahead of him when he meets champion Jon Jones in the main event at UFC 151, but then again it’s relatively rare to find any easy avenue in the 205-pound division. Henderson got a chance to witness that first hand when sitting cage-side this past Saturday night at UFC on FOX 4 to watch four of his divisional peers battle for the right to face the man emerging with the belt in a few weeks.
In the end Lyoto Machida’s stoppage of Ryan Bader was enough to earn the crafty Brazilian a title-shot, thus putting him in line for a potential meeting with Henderson depending on how the 41-year old fares against Jones. “Hendo” was asked to give his thoughts on Machida as an adversary during Fuel TV’s post-event coverage and acknowledged “The Dragon” is a stiff challenge but certainly not an impossible one to overcome.
“He’s a guy that I’ve always watched over the years. He’s gotten to grow on me a little bit. Early on he was pretty boring, never engaged and just waited and waited and waited and waited until it was time to catch a guy with one punch,” said Henderson, adding he’s been pleased with the difference in Machida’s aggression as of late. “It’s also a guy that would be fun to figure out. It’s a different type of guy with a different style that you usually don’t find. Those fights change it up for me and make it a little funner. He’s a guy you got to stay in his face.”
However, with Henderson’s bout against “Bones” being scheduled for September 1 his focus is clearly on the champ rather than a fellow contender.
“It’s definitely a big fight, but my last few have been big,” admitted a confident Henderson. “My conditioning feels great and obviously tactically in this one as it’s a little different because he’s a little longer and my game plan changes with each opponent. I’ve got a couple of real long, tall guys to train with, so I feel good now.”
Check out the complete interview with Henderson below where he also breaks down the bouts between Machida-Bader and Mauricio Rua-Brandon Vera:
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC