Henderson entered his bout at UFC Fight Night in Brazil against Vitor Belfort on the final fight of his current deal with the promotion, although he had stated before that he had every intention of re-signing with the UFC. What kind of a contract offer he would or wouldn’t receive, however, would weigh heavily on his performance.
Being knocked out in 77 seconds while marking his third-straight defeat didn’t do Henderson any favors.
Following the loss, the 43-year old MMA legend headed off to the hospital to get checked out after suffering the head kick knockout from Belfort, but not before passing along a message to UFC president Dana White.
He still wants to fight, and he wants to fight in the UFC.
"So Dan Henderson was transported to the hospital, I just saw him out back and he wants to do a new deal," White revealed at the UFC Fight Night post fight press conference. "I said we’ll talk in a couple weeks. So we’ll see what happens."
Henderson has faced free agency with the UFC before, and the last time ended with him exiting the promotion and signing a deal with rival promotion Strikeforce instead. On that occasion, Henderson was fresh off his second round knockout over Michael Bisping, but this time around the stakes are much different.
Henderson will go into this negotiation after three straight losses, two of which were razor-close decisions, but the exclamation point being the knockout from Belfort doesn’t help his leverage much at all. Despite the loss, however, it’s hard to imagine the UFC wouldn’t bring Henderson back and allow him to close out his career inside the Octagon.
Henderson’s legacy just wouldn’t seem right with the final fight on his resume reading anything other than UFC.