Pearl Harbor? More like South Pacific.
Dan Henderson's bid to capture his first-ever Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) world title was postponed due to the unfortunate and devastating MCL injury he suffered while training for his title fight against light heavyweight kingpin, Jon Jones, which was set to go down in Las Vegas, Nevada, this coming weekend (Sept. 1, 2012) at UFC 151.
With the event being scrapped altogether and no timetable in place for "Hendo's" return, the former Olympian will now begin the rehab process on his comeback trail. It's a big blow to Henderson, who was looking to be the first to put a chink in the armor of a champion who has looked unbeatable at times.
The injury, and subsequent withdrawal from the fight, also ended a personal long streak for "Dangerous Dan," who never had to pull out of a fight due to injury in his 15 year-long career.
Talk about bad timing.
"Hendo's" injury was only the beginning of wild and wacky 24-hour period for the UFC which saw title fights being turned down left and right, surprise match-ups, and the backlash towards one of the promotion's biggest stars. But at the end of the day, it wasn't something he broadcasted to his friends to help them launch a surprise attack when the phone started ringing.
Henderson stopped by The MMA Hour today (Aug. 27, 2012) and had plenty to say about the injury, Jones declining the fight with Chael Sonnen and gave his thoughts on Vitor Belfort, the man who stepped up and agreed to take on "Bones."
Check it out:
"The knee is doing okay, just have to wear a knee brace for a while to let it heal stronger. I was defending the takedown, trying to reverse a takedown and it twisted and my foot didn't rotate, it stuck it the mat and my knee popped. It hurt, but not extremely bad, but the biggest thing was when I tried to walk it off it just felt like it was there dangling and wobbly. Just like when I tore my ACL in the past, it still felt stable, just felt like it would wobble all around when I tried to walk it off. At that point, I was a little bit nervous, but was still trying to make it work. No surgery is needed, it's just a partial MCL tear."
Eager to get back inside the Octagon, Henderson eyes a return by the end of the year, possibly at UFC 155:
"They are telling me I can start light training in four to six weeks and then probably be a hundred- percent in three to four months. I think I would be fine to be ready by the end of the year. I hope to be able to fight on the end of the year show, we'll see. Of course I'd like the title fight, but we will wait and see what happens. Whatever I need to do, I just want to fight. Obviously I think myself and the fans would like to see me have the title fight, especially against Jon Jones, the fight everyone was hoping to see."
With Chael Sonnen offering to take the fight against Jones on eight days notice, Team Jackson seems to think he knew about "Hendo's" injury and tried to sneak his way into a title fight against Bones. Henderson says there is no truth to those claims because according to him, Chael didn't know of the injury beforehand:
"No, Chael didn't know anything about it. You know, he'd definitely not been training at all. My guys told me that Greg Jackson said in an interview that Chael was down training with me getting ready for the fight and knew I was hurt. It was nothing like that at all, he wasn't even down here. I asked him if he wanted to come down and help me train a couple months ago, but he didn't come down."
As far as the criticism Jones has received for not accepting the fight , Henderson doesn't think it's "unfair" that he is receiving all the heat after the cancellation and decline of a proposed fight with Sonnen:
"Well, all I know is, ultimately it was his decision not to take the fight with Chael. He kind of needs to, I don't think it's unfair that he is getting blasted like that. I mean, all I know is, that is not the decision I would have made, he obviously has his own reasons, and I can't think of any reason why I wouldn't take a fight like that. Other than being injured, if I'm healthy and in shape already and ready to fight that day anyway, it didn't matter who they wanted me to fight, I'll fight, especially if I'm champ."
On Vitor getting the nod to face Jones and his chances against the champion at UFC152:
"That was another shocking thing that I heard. It's all surprising, ideally, I think the fans wanted to see Machida step up if I wasn't going to be able to. It's too bad he didn't. Vitor is tough, he is dangerous, if he shows up mentally to fight, he definitely poses a threat, but, does he deserve even a title shot, probably not. So, especially at a weight he hasn't fought in a while. He is dangerous, he punches hard and he is quick, he is a southpaw which is a little bit awkward for Jon Jones, but I think he has a puncher's chance and if he shows up mentally, then yeah for sure. He comes straight forward and comes at you. Jon Jones isn't the best when he is backing up."
Surprisingly, Henderson didn't think Chael's offer to take on Jones on eight days notice wouldn't have served in the best interest of his friend and training partner:
"Chael hadn't trained in six, seven weeks, Chael might have done okay the first round and maybe take Jon Jones down and then probably run out of gas pretty quickly. I didn't think it was the smartest move at all for Chael to step up at all. For Chael to take Jon Jones down would require probably a little bit more energy than to bounce around the cage and exchange punches with him, so, I think he would have definitely needed more gas than sitting on the couch for six weeks."
There you go Maniacs, straight from the horse's mouth.
Anyone care to dissect the future hall of famer's comments surrounding the mess that was UFC 151? Anything in particular stand out to you?