It appears Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Dan 'Hendo' Henderson has reverted back to the old moniker of 'Hollywood'. He maybe still 'dangerous' to an opponent not respecting the 'H-Bomb' but he seems to not respect the pecking order in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
Hendo has asked to fight Rashad Evans who is slated to fight the winner of UFC 135: Jones vs. Rampage on September 24th, 2011 or would only consider moving back to his old stomping grounds at 185 against Anderson Silva.
That's a pretty steep demand when you're 41, a free agent and not an overwhelming draw. You want to either jump ahead of the line, fight the number one contender for the light heavyweight title or go directly pass go to face the middleweight champion who submitted you back at UFC 82.
Is 'Hollywood' back?
In 2007, the UFC was high and proud of bringing in Dan Henderson who was slated to face the new face of the light heavyweight division in Quinton Jackson. Riding high after a brutal knockout of PRIDE buzzsaw Wanderlei Silva at PRIDE 33, Hendo was looking to unite his PRIDE middleweight title (essentially the UFC light heavyweight equivalent) with Rampage's light heavyweight strap. The fight was highly competitive but at this time Jackson was on a roll after knocking out Marvin Eastman and Chuck Liddell. This was the very first blown opportunity to walk in a promotion and steal gold for Henderson.
Henderson, who appears to be built like a middleweight walked into another title fight against middleweight king pin Anderson Silva at UFC 82: 'Pride of a Champion'. Henderson found his groove in the first and was the first guy in a whole lotta time to give the 'Spider' any troubles in his muay thai web. With 20 seconds left in round 2 the web became entangled around Henderson's neck as he lost via rear naked choke.
Henderson would try and re-negotiate with the UFC following his always famous drubbing of British trash talker, Michael Bisping at UFC 100. He was coming off an unsuccessful run as the Team USA coeach on the ultimate fighter season 10 but made up for it with the knockout.
He may have loss the TUF battle but he surely won the war.
The rumor was Henderson was asking for $250,000 a fight plus a title shot which he thought he earned after h-bombing England's own at the one of the biggest UFC event to date. Zuffa didn't see the investment in Henderson as a win-win and so they allowed him to test the waters.
Those waters were shark infested as he ended up in San Jose based Strikeforce.
Scott Coker gave Henderson his six-figures and an immediate title shot against middleweight champion Jake Shields. At the time, Shields was a proverbial nobody,a blanket and was fed to Henderson's right. Strikeforce: Nashville maybe remembered for the brawl but before that was a fight of Jake Shield's life. Henderson unloaded upon Shields for nearly the entire first half of round one. The battered middleweight champion fought back valiantly and survived the drubbing to enforce his grappling prowess and earn the biggest win of his life to date.
0-3 for Henderson in immediate title shot chances.
Since coming back to his more comfortable 205 pounds he has gone 2-0 with wins over Renato Sobral and Rafeal Calvacante for the Strikeforce light heavyweight title. He then upped his value by knockoing out Fedor Emielanenko at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson.
Does Henderson deserve to be rushed up the ladder? should he get another direct to the front of the line treatment due to knocking out Fedor?. I have been very impressed with how well Henderson has been doing at light heavyweight against the likes of which he faced plus knocking out Fedor, a man who had never been knocked out prior.
If Rashad Evans and Rampage Jackson switched places as to UFC 135 being Evans vs. Jones then i'd be more open to having Rampage against Hendo for the number one contender status for the winner. Evans is without question the number one contender and should not wait or even hesitate to say no to anymore matches which may cost him that. He has beaten Thiago Silva, Rampage and now Tito Ortiz at UFC 133 after Phil Davis got injured, what else does he have to prove?.
Chael Sonnen is facing Brian Stann at UFC 136 for what we can safely assume is the number one contenders bout for the middleweight title. If Sonnen wins, does Henderson truly deserve to butt him in line for Anderson Silva?. If Stann wins though I'd be open to holding him back a little longer and allowing Henderson get a shot.
I respect Dan Henderson as much as anyone can for his gutsy, brave and fighting attitude but it's time for Henderson to earn his UFC title shot. I'd like to see Henderson face Mauricio Rua later this year as UFC 139 and UFC 140 need main events. Rua lost at UFC 126 to Jon Jones for the light heavyweight title, at UFC 134 he destroyed Forrest Griffin early in the first so a win over Henderson would give him a future title shot in my books. Henderson as we know is 3-0 with wins over Babalu, Fejao and the Last Emperor so another win and it being over Shogun would be okay with me and how i view the proverbial totem pole.
What do you Maniacs think?