Dan Henderson suffered the first knockout defeat of his mixed martial arts (MMA) career last night (Nov. 9, 2013) when Vitor Belfort landed a crushing head kick at UFC Fight Night 32: "Belfort vs. Henderson" in Goiania, Brazil at the Goiania Arena.
The loss was also the third straight for Henderson in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), another first for his career.
At 43 years old, Henderson is fighting not just his opponents, but Father Time as well. But as he told Fox Sports' Heidi Androl after the bout, he's never felt better. In fact, the loss was just the result of a "bad night."
I guess my last three fights haven't gone my way. So I'm a little farther from that belt that title shot that I had. I'm just going to continue to get back in there and win fights. This one definitely I got caught and got finished. The last two could have went easily my way. So I've just had some unfortunate luck with those last three fights. My body feels good and able to continue. Honestly, I haven't felt this good in a while. Just a bad night tonight.
The bout with Belfort was the last on Henderson's UFC contract. While he's stated in the past that he wants to re-sign with the UFC and fight for at least another two years, UFC President Dana White didn't commit to keeping Henderson on the roster.
As he told Androl in his post-interview, the UFC will be talking with Henderson in a few weeks, but there are concerns about his age and current losing streak.
Obviously we'll get together and we'll talk to him. He's on a three fight losing streak right now. His age and everything else, I gotta talk to him and see. I knew Dan wanted to fight again. He's a fighter and that's what he does, so we'll talk.
An optimist would say that it's likely that the UFC and Henderson will come to terms and he'll finish his mixed martial arts (MMA) career inside the Octagon. A realist though? Judging by White's comments, it seems like he's already halfway out the door when it comes to the Dan Henderson business.
Hopefully Hendo can come to terms with the UFC. While it's all but certain that he'll never challenge for a belt again, there are some interesting match ups left for him to close out his legendary career.
For more on "Belfort vs. Henderson" click here, and for complete UFC Fight Night 32 results and blow-by-blow coverage of all the night's action click here.