It would have been the rematch of one of the greatest full-out wars in UFC history.
UFC president Dana White said the co-headliner for the fight club’s inaugural card in Calgary in July was supposed to see Dan Henderson taking on Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in a redo of the 2011 fight of the year.
“Henderson turned it down. Henderson keeps turning everything down,” White told the Sun.
“I asked him to fight Little Nog (Antonio Rogerio Nogueira), he wouldn’t fight him. I asked him to fight Shogun, he won’t fight him.
“What he wants is to sit out and wait for either the winner of Anderson Silva/Chael Sonnen — but he only wants to fight Anderson, he doesn’t want to fight Chael. Or he wants to fight the winner of Rashad Evans vs. Jon Jones. Dan’s a pain in my ass.”
Henderson and Rua brawled for five rounds at UFC 139 in November, with each fighter staggering the other and winning fight-of-the-night honours. Henderson got the unanimous nod, though many, including White, feel the fight could have been scored a draw.
The straight-talking UFC president said an aging Henderson is looking for a big-name main event and not a do-over of a fight he’s already won on the judges’ scorecards.
“The thing with Dan is that he’s 40,” said White.
“He’s at the end of his career and he wants the big fight. He’s sitting around. I keep offering him fights and he keeps turning them down.”
Despite that, White said he’s OK with Henderson holding tight.
“As aggravating as Dan is ... Dan and I go back and forth with each other all the time, I respect him,” said White.
“I can tell you he’s a pain in the ass. He is a pain in the ass and he knows it, too. But I’m not out here smashing him. Dan Henderson has earned his respect and if he wants to sit out and wait for one of these title fights, he can do it.”
White said there was no truth behind a rumour that another Henderson — Benson — had turned down having his lightweight title rematch against Frankie Edgar in Canada.
“That’s not true. Ben Henderson is one of the coolest, classiest guys,” said White.
“When you call Ben Henderson on the phone ... believe me, there’s a big difference between the Hendersons. I’ll take Ben any day over talking to Dan.”
UFC 149 was made official earlier this week. White said Jose Aldo will defend his featherweight belt against a yet-to-be-named opponent at the event. A double-belt battle with Ben Henderson and Edgar added to that card is unlikely, said White.
The fights go July 21 from the Scotiabank Saddledome.
UFC won't slow down
The UFC is not putting on too many fights and stretching its talent too thin, says president Dana White. “As long as the fights we’re putting on are good fights, then hell no, we’re not putting on too many shows,” he said. “People who are fans can’t consume enough of it. If we truly put on a card that sucks, I’ll say it before you ever do. I can tell you 1,700 fights in 11 years, we’ve put on a handful of (crappy) cards.”
Vegas card draws Ace
Rich “Ace” Franklin, coming off shoulder surgery, will take on Cung Le at UFC 148 in Las Vegas in July. Franklin, a former middleweight champ, has said he will be on the card that will be headlined by bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz taking on Urijah Faber.
80,000-seat venue for rematch
The rematch between UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen will take place in an 80,000-seat soccer stadium in Brazil on June 23. White, who didn’t name the venue, made the fight official this week. UFC 147 is slated for Rio and will also include a battle between Wanderlei Silva and Vitor Belfort.
Farewell fight hits home
Canadian Jason “The Athlete” MacDonald says he wants to have his retirement fight in Calgary. The Red Deer, Alta., resident fights Tom Lawlor May 15 and hopes to come out of that fight with minimal damage to bid farewell to the sport close to home. MacDonald, who has fought 13 times in the UFC, also lived in Calgary for a decade.