Dan Henderson wants to face Michael Bisping in his retirement fight
MMA legend Dan Henderson knows he has at least one fight left in him and he’d like nothing more than to cap off a legendary career with another knockout over new middleweight champion Michael Bisping.
Henderson finished Bisping at UFC 100 in 2009 with one of the most jaw-dropping knockouts in UFC history and now the 46-year old middleweight would like the chance to do it all over again with a title on the line this time.
Henderson is fresh off a spectacular head kick and back elbow knockout over Hector Lombard at UFC 199 and after Bisping finished Luke Rockhold on the same night, rumors about a rematch between the two longtime rivals started to heat up.
Now Henderson says if the UFC is willing to make that fight happen, he’s ready to say that would be the last fight of his career.
"Luke’s a friend of mine, I was rooting for him and was shocked just like everybody else that Michael Bisping knocked somebody out. I don’t know if Bisping’s ever knocked anybody out," Henderson told FOX Sports on Tuesday. "I know he’s TKO’d a number of people and that’s what he does well, just stay on them and wear them down and TKO them. I’ve never known him to have knockout power and for him to land a nice left hook and to hit Luke like that it was nice and it was unexpected.
"At that point, a rematch wasn’t even going through my head. I wasn’t even thinking about it. I start getting texts ‘hey you should fight Bisping again’ and I kind of shrugged it off. It wouldn’t happen but the momentum kind of built and now everybody’s asking about it. Everyone of my fans on my social media outlets are asking for that fight as well. Who knows it could happen. It’s something I definitely would fight one more time against him for sure, if I got the opportunity I would absolutely fight against him and that would be my last fight for sure."
That would definitely be my retirement fight for sure. I think with that being known ahead of time, it just adds to the excitement to the fight and the draw of the fight. Hopefully, they can make that happen.
— Dan Henderson
Henderson is no stranger to big knockouts but when it comes to his all-time highlight reel, the win over Bisping sits near the top of the list.
The new middleweight champion is well aware that he’s been a victim of Henderson’s power, but seven years later he’s still haunted by that knockout and Bisping would love nothing more than to attempt to avenge that loss.
Henderson is definitely game and while he knows he’s not actually ranked No. 1 in the world at middleweight, some rivalries trump rankings and he believes this is one of them.
"I hope it happens. Obviously I had a title shot opportunity against Jon Jones that never happened because I got injured. I didn’t have the best luck since that injury the last couple of years and I’m doing the best physically right now since I came back and lost a couple close fights, got caught a couple of times, had some back luck with fights getting stopped a little bit early. It’s the way it goes. I didn’t expect to get a title shot again, so obviously I’m welcoming that and pushing for that opportunity," Henderson said.
"I realize I’d be jumping the line a little bit and the UFC fans are kind of used to that on occasions with Dana (White) doing that from time to time. I think Conor McGregor jumped the line a little bit as well and then he made the best use out of it. I have no idea what Dana’s thinking or what the UFC’s thinking is, but it definitely helps that Bisping wants that fight as well."
Henderson has acknowledged that following the awe-inspiring finish he had against Bisping the last time that there’s no way he could duplicate that exact performance in a rematch, but he’d certainly try.
Henderson has been impressed with Bisping’s current run where he’s beaten fighters like Rockhold and Anderson Silva during a recent streak, but he’d love nothing more than to bring his momentum to a screeching halt and add a UFC title to his Hall of Fame resume.
"I don’t think I could do it exactly like I did it before. I definitely think he can be knocked out again by me for sure," Henderson said. "He’s improved a little bit and I’m sure he’s learned from his mistakes over the years and so have I. Bisping’s a tough guy and he’s in good shape. It’s a fight that I think I can knock him out again, absolutely. If I get that opportunity, I definitely will try."
If Henderson doesn’t get the fight with Bisping, he also knows that his last bout with Lombard could be the last of his career.
Dangling the Bisping fight in front of him was enough for Henderson to concede he’d step back into the Octaogn at least one more time, but if that doesn’t come together he’s probably closer to retirement than ever before.
"If I don’t get the Bisping fight, there’s a chance that might have been my last fight," Henderson said. "It all depends on what I’m offered and what options I have on the table for doing other things involving MMA. Like I said, I absolutely would do the Bisping fight and then call it after that. But it all depends on what I’m offered and before I’d make any decisions on whether I’d fight again or not."
In a perfect world, Henderson would get to fight one more time with Bisping as his opponent and the middleweight title on the line. And if the fight took place in Madison Square Garden in New York at UFC 205, Henderson wouldn’t complain about that either.
"I would fight him anywhere. I think that would probably be one of the best places to do it," Henderson said about the upcoming New York event. "We’ll see what happens. I’m down for whatever. I think definitely the biggest moneymaker in the division for sure.
"It’s a rematch that’s been talked about here and there over the years but I don’t think Bisping’s given me or the fans too big of a reason to really have that rematch until now. We’ll see."