Exclusive interview with Dan Henderson

If Wikipedia ever created an entry entitled ‘overhand right’, Dan Henderson’s knockout of Michael Bisping would be right up there. Dan Henderson didn’t really throw that punch, it was just sort of waiting for Bisping like some bad fruitcake your Aunt made for you at Christmas. It was nasty, forceful and probably tasted like vinyl and rubber (the glove, not the fruit cake). After his UFC 100 victory, Hendo essentially called out Anderson Silva and things looked set for a potential rematch at UFC 105…but the universe urinated on Hendo’s parade. A UFC contract extension could not be ironed out. Rumors floated around that Henderson wanted a seven-figure signing bonus from UFC. In October, Dana White told MMAWeekly that he ‘caught’ Dan Henderson meeting with Scott Coker at a restaurant in LA. Dana also said that he could ‘guarantee’ that Strikeforce could not meet the offer that he offered Henderson to resign with UFC. Within two months, Dan Henderson was signed with Strikeforce. On April 17th, Hollywood Hendo will bang against Jake Shields in perhaps the largest primetime card in MMA history. Three titles will be on the line at Strikeforce Nashville and Hendo plans to introduce his overhand right to millions of CBS viewers but before any of that goes down, check out our exclusive interview with Dan Henderson, only at MiddleEasy.com – Because MMA is everything. (Props to Tracy Lee for snapping that infamous picture of Dan Henderson carrying a BBQ grill across the street.)


On one of Dana White’s V-logs, he randomly spliced your image in. You then said you had a stalker. What’s your relationship with Dana? Do you think you will ever be invited over for dinner again?Yeah, I got nothing against Dana at all. I didn’t take anything personally you know, with the negotiations with Strikeforce or anything, I know Dana can get a little emotional sometimes but he could be invited to dinner for sure…as long as he’s paying.


There are reports that you wanted a $1,000,000 signing bonus from UFC to sign, is that true or did the number get blown up in the media?Yeah. Alot of things get blown up in the media — I probably shouldn’t talk any numbers, I can’t even remember, but yeah I wanted a base signing bonus. Yeah.


In Wanderlei Silva’s fight against Bisping, Wandy said ‘I’m going to copy Dan Henderson’. If this were Japan and the two of you met, who would bow lower?Who would bow lower? Meaning what?


It’s a respect thing, like in Japanese culture, he seems to respect you, is it mutual? I think it’s a mutual thing I do believe that he’s one of the toughest fighters out there, he doesn’t have the chin he used to but he’s always been a warrior and goes out there. He’s done a lot of great things to help bring fans to this sport.


Hector Lombard, the Bellator Middleweight Champion, said that he wants to fight you. What’s the chance of you taking a visit to Bellator to collect another belt? Probably slim, probably slim. I’m sure Hector would want to fight me to get his name out there a little better.


How excited are you to get back to Japan to fight in a potential Strikeforce/Dream bout? You know, it would be nice to go back to Japan — get back once a year or something, who knows if that will happen, but maybe this year or next year. Who knows. I would like to get back there. I miss the fans in Japan, they are a bit different, the shows that Pride put on there were unbelievable. I miss that as well.


Everybody does. Rumor has it in Pride, they paid you in wads of cash right after the fight. Truth? I don’t think those are rumors, that’s just the way they did things, they always paid in cash and then you pretty much just claim it on your taxes when you get back to the states.


Do you miss having huge amounts of cash in duffel bags? It was nice but it was always a hassle to get it over the border.


If you were cornering Chael Sonnen, what advice would you give him against Anderson Silva? I think, well…Chael is one of the best wrestlers in MMA. He’s done very well. His wrestling is about control on the top and I definitely think as long as he can control Anderson and keep the top that it’s a fight that he could win.


Everyone has you ranked as the #2 MW in the world. If Demian Maia beats Anderson Silva, you will be bumped to #1. Do you even pay attention to stuff like that? Not really, you know, the rankings go up and down, I haven’t even fought in nine months and my ranking is going up and down up and down all the time and I haven’t even done anything. It doesn’t matter to me, ultimately it’s about beating the top guys out there and then you pretty much know. I know who those top guys are, I don’t think Demian Maia has that big of a chance against Anderson…but anything can happen in MMA.


Do you check any of the MMA message boards? It seems like everyone wants to see you fight Nick Diaz at 185. Would you ever consider that fight? Yeah, I think that would be an interesting fight I think Nick is um, pretty….awkward, he seems to pummel everyone on his feet without having a ton of power. He kind of peppers them to death and he’s surprisingly effective with that but yeah, that would be an interesting fight. I like Nick, he’s as tough as fighters go.


So if that fight happens what do you want to do? Keep it standing or bring it to the ground? He has mean BJJ blackbelt. Yeah, well, I don’t even have a belt in jiu-jitsu so, you know, that doesn’t mean anything today. It’s just of matter of how you’re using it, but yeah he does a good job on the ground but for the most part he wants to stand up. He’s kind of awkward and squirmy on the bottom but I think I could out power him there and on my feet. I’m a little bit awkward myself, I’m sure I would keep that fight standing for awhile.


Would you ever get your front crown repaired or do you just dig freaking out reports by removing your first four teeth at will? Haha, I’ve still got the front piece there, it isn’t permanent.


What are you going to do in your fight against Jake Shields that Mayhem Miller did not? The opposite I suppose?Yeah well, the opposite is to win, that’s what I plan on doing, I don’t plan on hanging out on my back for that long, I’m a bit of a different fighter than Jason Miller. I don’t think Jake Shields has fought anyone quite like me and I’m pretty smart when I go out there. I’m not gonna just run out there and let him take me down.


There’s a picture of you and Jake Shields taking a shot together at some bar. Where was that? Hard Rock (Vegas) he was filming the TUF show coaching for Chuck and I was out there for something.


Did you feel somewhat offended when the UFC banned your clothing brand Clinch Gear?No, I thought that was pretty funny when they banned Clinch Gear, it was part of their little strong arm tactic trying to flex their muscles trying to see if I would sign the contract with them. They banned it before I even signed with Strikeforce. It’s just funny, we’re even paying just like all the rest of the companies to get in there and have the right to sponsor guys and it’s just funny to me that they do things like that…but it doesn’t matter. The bottom line is it just hurts the fighters, when they take control of the sponsorships the fighters don’t get paid.


Would you be open to Misaki vs. Henderson III?Ugh, let’s see now, I don’t know. I’m open to fight whoever but I think Misaki has a ways to go now to get to me. For me, I’m not worried about my loss to him, it’s uh, probably one of the worst fights of my career, I didn’t want to be there. I didn’t want to be fighting him again and I didn’t want to be in the tournament…


You fought in Japan for 21 fights that spanned over 7 years, pick up any Japanese? No, I was just over there for 6 days at a time sometimes 3-4 times a year, so, you can’t pick up much Japanese in 5 or 6 days.


No extended Japanese getaways?Nah, 20 some days a year, not enough to pick up the language.


How was it being on NCIS Los Angeles? Was LL Cool J….Cool?Yeah I thought LL Cool J was…pretty cool. He was nice when I was down there and had a lot of positive energy, he made the whole set a lot of fun and good working atmosphere and was a really good dude.


Ok, so since you signed with Strikeforce, people have been throwing the Fedor question at you, you’ve said a few years ago that 205 is the biggest you usually get…lets clear the water, is it the media blowing up the possibility of the match-up out of proportion or would you really consider moving up to heavyweight to make this this match-up possible?Well, it’s not gonna happen at 205 it would have to be heavyweight, he won’t move down.


Would you pack on the pounds and move up? Give up some weight?He wouldn’t be the heaviest guy I’ve fought, I’m not worried about that, it doesn’t matter to me.


You have an annual pig roast, what do we have to do to get an invite?Ugh, (clearly uncomfortable) You know, the last few years has been a little out of hand and I will probably tighten it up a little bit who knows. It used to be friends and family, but recently there has been about 300 people.


We like putting people on the spot for pig roast invites here at MiddleEasy.Haha, that’s alright. I don’t know what you have to do in other words.


Last question, what’s your view on the afterlife? What do you think happens when we die?I don’t know, hopefully you’re good enough in your life to go upstairs than to the downstairs.


Any shouts-outs?Clinchgear.com and DanHenderson.com, check ’em out!
Published on April 10, 2010 at 1:44 am
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