Just in case you had any doubt if Dan Henderson was UFC Hall of Fame material, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White put it all to rest at today's (Aug., 21, 2012) UFC 151 media conference call.
Despite having won various titles in organizations across the globe such as PRIDE FC and Strikeforce, the UFC belt has been the one that has always eluded the former Olympian. On Sept. 1, 2012, "Hendo" will have a chance to finally claim a UFC world title as he takes on current Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones at UFC 151 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
It is popular belief, though not necessarily a pre-requisite, that the UFC's Hall of Fame should be reserved for champions and tournament winners only, with the exception of Charles "Mask" Lewis, co-founder of "TapouT" clothing brand, who joined the prestigious list of fighters after his untimely passing in 2009.
Should Henderson come up short against "Bones" in "Sin City," White says it will have no bearing on his Hall of Fame status.
Check out the UFC head honcho's comments, after the jump:
"I thought Couture was wrapping it up at 37. Dan Henderson is a three time world champion. He's a great wrestler, has knockout power in both hands and has fought everyone from 170 pounds all the way to heavyweight. He continues to impress no matter how old he gets. Jon Jones has been on a tear. If he wrecks Dan Henderson, that would be even more impressive. No one has ever knocked out Dan Henderson. He's got a rock solid, iron chin. If he did that it would be quite a feat. Whether Dan Henderson wins or loses, he's a UFC Hall of Famer."
Dana also went on to say the amount of disrespect Henderson has been receiving leading up to his title fight against Jones is ridiculous:
"He's fought the who's-who. He's been around forever and fought everybody at every weight class. If you look at his skill set, I don't know how you can discount this guy. Him and Rampage went toe-to-toe for five rounds blasting each other. The amount of disrespect has been ridiculous. Dan Henderson is probably one of the most overlooked and underrated fighters in the world today."
Fighting for over 15 years, the 41-year old Henderson could possibly be at the tail-end of his career, though he has made no suggestions of such thing.
A win over the much younger Jones could be just what he needs to complete his storied career, though it isn't necessary to join the present company of elite fighters Chuck Liddell, Matt Hughes and Royce Gracie in the Hall of Fame.
At least not in Dana's eyes.
What about you? Do you feel that Henderson, should he come up short against Jones, belongs in the UFC's Hall of Fame, despite not having won a title within the promotion? Or is his body of work over his 15-year long career enough to justify the enshrinement on its own?