“It’s the last one on my contract (but) I like Strikeforce, and I do like fighting on Showtime. … I don’t have any plans of leaving. I don’t want to leave… I’d like to defend that belt and then possibly have a match with whoever’s the UFC champ. I think that’s where the potential to both make a lot more money and have a lot more fans watch both Strikeforce and the UFC… As soon as Zuffa bought Strikeforce, Jon Jones fought right after that and everybody was blowing up my Twitter about fighting Jon Jones. That would be fun for me because he’s so unorthodox. But it’s something that probably needs to be built up after I defend the belt once or twice.”
— Dan Henderson talking to MMA Fighting about his plans after he faces Fedor Emelianenko later this month
Win or lose, Dan Henderson’s Strikeforce career is relatively uncertain after he faces Fedor Emelianenko on July 30. The outcome of the fight won’t affect his status as Strikeforce light heavyweight champion either way, but it is the last fight on his current contract and will certainly affect how much money he makes on his next contract. If he manages the score the first highlight reel knockout of The Last Emperor, his stock will certainly rise. People will probably even start calling for him to fight Jon Jones. But as Hendo himself explains above, the timing for such a fight isn’t right yet. Jon Jones still has Rampage to get through and likely Rashad Evans after that if they both win their next fights. I already made the case for a Jones-Hendo match-up so you know I’d like to see it, but it probably won’t make any sense to do it until sometime next year.
In the meantime, Hendo will have to defend his Strikeforce title if he re-signs with the organization, but who against? Well, the options are limited, but Scott Coker is confident they be able to find a challenger for him.
“He’s our light heavyweight champion, so we’ll have more fights for him,” Coker said of Henderson. “Strikeforce has a good light heavyweight division. King Mo is going to come back at some point, Roger Gracie is rising, Gegard (Mousasi) is still in the mix, Mike Kyle — people underestimate Mike Kyle.”
On a interesting side note, Strikeforce.com actually announced this morning that Fedor Emelianenko would be leaving Strikeforce for the UFC after the Hendo fight to face Anderson Silva, but it turned out to be a hoax. Somehow, someone got unauthorized access to the website and posted the bogus report. Bummer.