Dan Henderson didn’t get his first question until more than 13 minutes into Friday’s UFC 157 news conference — and it was a query about Saturday’s main event between Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche.
A bout such as Henderson vs. Lyoto Machida could be atop many UFC cards. Instead, the two veteran light-heavyweights are almost an afterthought here at Honda Center, where all but one fighter on the card (Nah-Shon Burrell) made weight on Friday. Rousey weighed in at 134.6 pounds for the first female bout in UFC history, and Carmouche came in at 133.6 pounds.
“I think it’s great,” Henderson said. “I have women training at my gym all the time. I’m a big fan, and I’m excited I get to watch the fight after I’m done.”
UFC president Dana White said the winner of Henderson-Machida will get a shot at champ Jon Jones.
“I love this fight,” White said. “I think it’s a great fight. Machida has a style where he lays back and counterpunches, and Henderson moves forward, is aggressive and is in your face the entire time. I think the fight is going to be a great fight, and the fight is all about the winner.”
Both already could have fought Jones last summer.
Henderson was slated to face Jones at UFC 151 in August before Henderson injured his knee days before the bout. The UFC ultimately was forced to cancel the event entirely after Machida declined to take the fight on short notice.
At 42, Henderson’s chances at the title could be waning. This will be the second fight in his third go-around with UFC. He’s riding a four-fight winning streak with three of those bouts in Strikeforce, a promotion that merged with the UFC.
“The thing with Dan that is so crazy, as old as he is, is that he’s tough as nails,” White told FOXSports.com. “The guy is tough, dangerous and has a right hand from hell.”
Henderson remains one of the more explosive strikers in the UFC, and the former US Olympic wrestler is hardly a slouch on the ground. He weighed in at 205 pounds, three pounds heavier than Machida.
“There’s a lot on the line, and it’s definitely going to be a huge challenge,” Henderson said on recent conference call with reporters. “I just want to make sure that my game plan is there and my mind is in this fight, and we’ll see what happens after that.”
Henderson said his knee injury — a partially torn MCL that did not require surgery — has healed and that he’s 100 percent.