Dan Henderson is one of the MMA greats and a fan-favourite but unfortunately one thing has always eluded him, a UFC belt. Now as his career winds down that gold seems further than ever, but it doesn’t sound like the man known as Hendo plans on finishing up just yet.
The 44-year-old former Strikeforce and Pride champion suffered a disappointing loss to Gegard Mousasi in the UFC on Fox 14 co-main event on Saturday, though it wasn’t without controversy as Hendo was rocking by a right hand to the temple and had been mounted but still looked to be conscious and moving before the ref jumped in to stop the fight at 1:10 of the very first round at Tele2 Arena in Stockholm.
Speaking with an eye-patch at the post-fight press conference, Dan brushed aside any questions about retirement, instead choosing to focus on the recovery from the eye injury he suffered early in the middleweight bout.
“My eyelid was sliced open. I knew something was wrong when I couldn’t see out of it,” he explained. “It didn’t feel like a hard punch, but I just couldn’t see. It was real blurry out of the one eye. And then Gegard started pointing at it. I just felt like if they had looked at it, it would’ve been stopped.”
Feeling a desperation to end the fight with his vision impaired and the fear of a doctor stoppage looming, Henderson went after Mousasi with an increased sense of urgency. That ultimately led to his demise.
“I went in to pressure him. He clipped me a little bit. You guys saw what happened. I just felt like I didn’t really get in there to fight. I didn’t get an opportunity,” Henderson said. “It’s unfortunate the way it happened. It just sucks.”
It was Hendersons fifth loss in his last six Octagon appearances and 2nd knockout loss, his first coming in 2013. Despite that Hendo insists that he feels healthy and is not concerned about any potential head trauma and expects to stick at 185 pounds.
“Tonight I felt fine the whole time. It was just one of those things,” he said. “I’m real careful in practice and train smart and I feel good. It was just an unfortunate thing tonight. I feel completely fine and healthy.”
“My body felt great. I felt fine. I just had an unfortunate thing happen and that’s the way it goes,” he said. “The weight cut was fairly easy. I naturally weigh fairly light anyway. I was kind of tired of pushing around these big boys.”