Dan Henderson has one main career goal left: to become a UFC champion.
Henderson will get his chance to do just that on September 1 when he squares off with Jon Jones for the UFC light heavyweight title. The two will comprise the main event of UFC 151 from Las Vegas.
“One of my final goals is to get that UFC belt,” said Henderson, during a media conference call on Tuesday. “I am excited about the opportunity. I am excited about the fight. It’s a fight I’ve been waiting for and working towards.”
Henderson defeated Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in a five-round classic late in 2011. Since that time, Jones has defeated Lyoto Machida and Rashad Evans, while “Hendo” has remained quietly waiting in the wings.
Now, after several weeks of preparation and training, the former Pride and Strikeforce champion is ready to pounce.
“I plan on beating him to the punch and putting him on his back,” Henderson said. “I am excited. Everyone is going to have to wait and see how it unfolds.”
Henderson has been discredited in the fight because of his age and because of the current run that Jones is on. That doesn’t bother Henderson, however.
“It’s funny to me,” Henderson said. “I know what I’m capable of, and if it just means proving more people wrong, that makes it even more sweeter.”
UFC president Dana White added that the amount of disrespect that Henderson has been getting “is ridiculous.”
“Henderson is one of the most overlooked, underrated fighters in the sport today,” White continued. “Dan Henderson has been around forever. He fought Carlos Newton. He fought everybody at every weight class. He is one of these guys who will always step up and take a fight. Look at his skills-set: he’s never been knocked out, he’s a great wrestler, has knockout power in both hands. I don’t know how you discount this guy.”
Photo credit: James Law/MMA Fighting