Hendo looks for redemption

NEIL SPRINGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:43 PM ET

It goes without saying that Dan (Hendo) Hendersonís Strikeforce debut didnít go according to plan.

The two-time PRIDE champion, UFC tournament winner and former Olympian entered the fight organization hot off a nasty knockout victory over Michael (The Count) Bisping at UFC 100. With so many accomplishments to his name, many expected Henderson (25-8) to steamroll Jake Shields en route to capturing the Strikeforce middleweight championship at Strikeforce: Nashville this past April.

Following a strong start to the first round that saw Henderson unload on Shields (26-4-1) with big punches, the MMA legend appeared tired and was dominated en route to dropping a unanimous decision.

Though Henderson didnít say exactly why everything fell apart within the first five minutes, he later admitted on MMAWeekly Radio (http://mmaweekly.com/dan-henderson-discloses-it-was-medication-that-caused-his-weight-cutting-struggles) that prescription medication interfered with his cut to middleweight (185 pounds).

ďI felt my conditioning was great for that fight, but it didnít show,Ē Henderson said on a Strikeforce conference call. ďI had some other issues going on that really didnít help me out a lot. It made the weight cut real tough.

ďHalf-way through the first round, I was really tired. Thereís no reason I should have been that tired with my conditioning the way it was.Ē

Henderson looks bounce back from the defeat against Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt Renato (Babalu) Sobral at Strikeforce: Henderson vs. Babalu on Sat., Dec. 4 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Miss. The event will air live on Showtime in the U.S. and Super Channel in Canada.

Henderson, who will be facing Sobral (36-8) at 205 pounds, said heís in top shape for the bout.

ďIím feeling great for this fight; my bodyís feeling great,Ē Henderson said. ďIíve got no issues going on at all and Iím really looking forward to fighting.

ďIíve always felt comfortable; Iíve never felt weak or overpowered at 205 pounds. The biggest thing that Iíve noticed is that I can eat a good meal a couple days before the fight. In that regard, itís a little more enjoyable for me. Itís one less thing I have to worry about -- weight cutting. So Iím just hanging out right about 203, 204 and feeling great.Ē

The two originally met over a decade ago in the finals of the 1999 Rings King of Kings tournament in Tokyo, Japan on Feb. 26, 2000. On that day, Henderson walked away with a majority decision victory.

Sobral said revenge is the last thing on his mind going into the rematch.

ďThis is not about revenge, just an exciting matchup,Ē Sobral said. ďItís a great fight for the fans.

ďMy conditioning training has changed a lot, and I have a lot of different professionals that work with me. I was more amateur then, a young guy. I am totally different today because of all the stuff that I have learned over the past years. I train well and make fewer mistakes while training.Ē

Though he just celebrated his 40th birthday in August, Henderson said that win or lose, he has no plans of quitting mixed martial arts.

ďI donít think age is as much of an issue as just getting smarter with my training over the years and making sure Iím listening to my body, taking care of myself and getting enough rest,Ē Henderson said. ďIíve been wrestling since I was five years old and when I was competing in wrestling my body felt a lot worse than it does now. I donít really focus on that. Iím doing okay and my bodyís feeling good. So I can still enjoy my job.

ďI feel like Iím out there to win. Sometimes it doesnít work out that way, but I donít feel like itís a do-or-die situation. Iím not going to retire if it doesnít go my way this time. I feel very confident in my training for this fight.Ē


Videos

Photos