Dan Henderson told us prior to UFC on FOX 14 that win or lose, he would not retire.
Following another knockout loss, "Hendo" still does not want to hear the retirement talk, but the former PRIDE and Strikeforce champion needs to come to the realization that now is probably the best time to hang em' up.
Henderson was knocked out by Gegard Mousasi in just 70 seconds last evening (Sat., Jan. 24, 2015) in the co-main event of UFC on FOX 14 in Stockholm, Sweden (highlights here). Even though Henderson and many others cried foul for an early stoppage, the MMA legend appeared to be out from Mousasi's follow-up left hook that sent him crashing to the fence.
But Henderson is so durable! We have seen him come back from much worse!
Is this the argument that we are reverting to? "Hendo" has been finished by strikes twice in his last four fights, and was nearly finished a third time by Shogun Rua last March before his rousing come-from-behind knockout. Before Vitor Belfort crushed Henderson in just 77 seconds in late 2013, the American had never been finished by strikes in his legendary MMA career.
Following another brutal loss on Saturday night, Henderson hit Instagram to note that he "can't wait to fight again once (his eyelid) is healed."
In 43 professional fights, Henderson has been knocked down an alarming 15 times according to FightMetric.com. At 44-years old, why is "Hendo" so willing to continue punishing his body, and more importantly, his brain?
When a reporter brought up this dubious statistic to Henderson at the post-fight press conference (watch the replay here), the American shrugged it off as if it was not that important, instead focusing on how he felt completely fine during the entire finishing sequence.
"I was aware the whole time. I was going for a single leg and coming up. I felt like I was in a good position to take him down. You guys saw what happened. I just felt like I really didn't get in there to fight and didn't get an opportunity. It's just unfortunate that it happened, and it just sucks. I felt good tonight. My body felt great. I felt fine. I just had an unfortunate thing happen and that's the way it goes. The weight cut was fairly easy. I naturally weigh fairly light anyway. I was kind of tired of pushing around all these big guys."
Henderson's response is a bit alarming.
The fact of the matter is that "Hendo" is not improving as a mixed martial artist, he probably will not be making a late career title run, and he is going to continue to get punished by his opponents if he plods forward with his UFC fighting career.
Do we really need to witness Henderson "go out on his shield" a la Chuck Liddell? Recall "The Iceman" was knocked out violently in three consecutive fights before finally calling it quits -- or until Dana White literally revoked his privilege of fighting inside the Octagon.
Henderson has fought (and beaten) some of the greatest fighters to ever step into an MMA cage.
His list of accolades is nearly innumerable, and he is absolutely adored by an ever-growing legion of combat sports fans. Not to mention his unbelievable highlight reel, and the awe-inspiring heart and durability he has displayed over his career.
But perhaps it's time for Henderson to heed our warning. We don't want to see him retire because we want to get rid of him. We want to see him hang them up before any more damage is done.
Anyone think otherwise?
For complete UFC on FOX 14 results and coverage of all the night's action click here.