Dan Henderson has a simple explanation for turning down a fight with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira — he wants a title shot against Jon Jones and he wants to see if he’ll get it pending the outcome of next week’s Rashad Evans vs. Phil Davis fight.
“I was under the impression that [UFC President Dana White] still kind of was on the fence whether he was going to put me in front of Rashad or not, that’s assuming Rashad wins,” Henderson said. “[White] did offer me a fight with ‘Little Nogueira.’ I didn’t think the fans would be interested in that fight, and not as much time as I would like to prepare for a five-round fight. So I told him I would wait to see what happened with the Rashad fight. I would like to fight Jones now rather than if I took that fight with ‘Little Nog,’ it wouldn’t be fighting Jones until another eight-nine months.
“It would have kept me active right now, but I’m okay waiting a little bit. We’ll see what happens with the Rashad fight and go from there.”
Hendo says he would have given the fight more serious consideration if it was just a three-round fight, however that would have conflicted with the UFC’s new five-round main event policy.
There’s typically a negative stigma attached to turning down fights, but I think it’s the right move here. Hendo may still be at the top of his game, but let’s be honest, he isn’t getting any younger. As we’ve seen with other top fighters, when they fall, they fall hard and fast and who know how much longer Hendo has before that happens. If the possibility is there for Hendo to get a title shot sooner than later, I don’t see how anyone can blame him for wanting to wait a couple weeks to see what happens.