Exclusive MMANews.com Interview With Dan Henderson

MMANews.com's own Chris Howie recently caught up with PRIDE Middleweight and Welterweight champion Dan Henderson to discuss a number of topics. Below is a complete transcript of the interview which was conducted on August 9, 2007.


Chris Howie of MMANews.com: This is Chris Howie of MMANews.com and today I am speaking with the Pride Middleweight champion Dan Henderson. How are you today Dan?

Dan Henderson I’m doing good. Doing great.

MMANews.com: What have you been up to lately?

Dan Henderson: I’ve been training and waiting to fight.

MMANews.com: How has training been going for your upcoming fight with Quinton “Rampage” Jackson?

Dan Henderson: It’s been going great. I’m in really good condition right now and I’m right on track to where I want to be.

MMANews.com: How do you feel you match up with Rampage?

Dan Henderson: I feel I match up well with anybody. I’m a better wrestler and better on the ground than him. He is a little bit better striker than I am and he is explosive and he is pretty athletic. It should be a good match-up.

MMANews.com: Now a lot of fans may not realize this but this is actually you making your return to the UFC. What are your thoughts on returning to the UFC?

Dan Henderson: I’m excited to be fighting in the UFC again. I’ve been fighting in Pride for almost six or seven years now. It is a welcome change but I am most excited about the fact that I have a chance to become the first person to hold three belts at one time.

MMANews.com: Do you ever see the Pride organization making a return?

Dan Henderson: I really do not know. I haven’t heard anything on what will be going on with Pride. So we’ll see what happens.

MMANews.com: There has been some confusion as to which belt or if both titles will be on the line when you fight Quinton Jackson. Which belt is going to be on the line in this fight?

Dan Henderson: I honestly couldn’t answer that question. When I originally talked to them they said it would just be for the UFC title belt because it will not be fought under Pride rules or in a ring so how could my Pride belt be on the line? So, I don’t know. They’ve never told me different but it doesn’t really matter to me because I’m going to be winning that title.

MMANews.com: What would it mean for you to hold three titles at one time?

Dan Henderson: What would it mean to me? I guess the biggest thing to me would be knowing that I am the true world champion and have done something that nobody else has ever done. I have two championship belts now so why not make it three?

MMANews.com: Do you have any plans on going back to Middleweight to fight or do you plan on sticking to Light Heavyweight?

Dan Henderson: I have no plans after this fight. We’ll see what happens. I’ll win this fight and after that the rest should take care of itself.

MMANews.com: Everyone knows how legendary Team Quest is and the champions it has produced. Talk to me a little about training at Team Quest.

Dan Henderson: We strive to be the best. We have a lot of world class athletes here and that is what makes us pretty unique. We have top athletes that have a lot of knowledge and specialize in different things so we can share knowledge with each other. We have a pretty good system and great trainers.

MMANews.com: Who has been helping you train for this fight and have you brought anyone new in to help you train?

Dan Henderson: Well I have been training with the usual guys on the team. I have brought in two top wrestlers as well to help me train and brush up on my wrestling a little bit. I also have a K-1 kickboxer in as well and I’m trying to brush up on everything basically. It’s a fight that is going to have a lot of striking in it so I’ll be coming out and giving it my all as usual.

MMANews.com: Were you impressed with Jackson's performance in his title win over Chuck Liddell?

Dan Henderson: I didn’t really expect a quick knockout. I expected more of a third or fourth round stoppage. Rampage caught him on the button and that is what happens when you get caught. It was nice.

MMANews.com: When you say third or fourth round stoppage do you mean you seen it going that long and either fighter could have won or did you have Rampage winning the fight but figured it would go into one of those rounds?

Dan Henderson: It was a decision I made before the fight and Chuck didn’t look like he was in the best condition so that’s when I figured it would be a mid-fight stoppage because Chuck would be too tired.

MMANews.com: Who are some fighters you would like to face after the Jackson fight?

Dan Henderson: [pauses] I haven’t really thought about it. I can see a rematch with Wanderlei Silva eventually and there could be a match with Shogun [Rua] but who knows. I’m not worried about it right now.

Dan Henderson speaks with MMANews.com …

MMANews.com: What is next for some of the fighters in your camp such as Matt Lindland and Sokoudjou?

Dan Henderson: Matt Lindland will be fighting around Octoberish for Bodog and Sokoudjou will probably be fighting in September but I’m not quite sure where yet.

MMANews.com: Who are some of your favorite fighters to watch fight as a fan?

Dan Henderson: Fedor [Emelianenko], he is exciting. I also like to watch Wanderlei fight as well.

MMANews.com: What did it mean to you to knock Silva out to win the Pride title?

Dan Henderson: It felt good. It was a perfect fight for me. Dominating him for the fight the way I did felt much better than a quick knockout would have.

MMANews.com: Even though you are champion in two weight classes do you feel people look past you to more fighters they may know a little better?

Dan Henderson: Yeah absolutely but it has never really bothered me that much. But as far as the pay scale goes it, is a popularity contest and I think with this fight that will change.

MMANews.com: You are known as a rather calm fighter and never seem to get that excited or panic when fighting. What do you do mentally to keep yourself calm?

Dan Henderson: When I’m in there fighting I am really focused and I’m not worrying about what happened last round or what is going to happen this round. I get excited when… well when I knocked out Wanderlei I got pretty excited. [laughs]

MMANews.com: How many more years do you plan on fighting for?

Dan Henderson: I’m not too sure. It all depends on the body. Right now my body is better than ever so it could be a while before I decide to stop.

MMANews.com: When you do retire do you plan on continuing to coach at Team Quest?

Dan Henderson: Definitely. I’ll continue to grow my team and produce champions.

MMANews.com: People have been wondering which nickname you like to use, “Hollywood” Henderson or “Dangerous” Dan?

Dan Henderson: [laughs] You know I’ve never given myself any of those. I don’t really like Hollywood but people continue to call me it for some reason. I don’t know which they will use at this UFC.

MMANews.com: Who has been some of your biggest inspirations in the sport?

Dan Henderson: I don’t know. Probably Matt Lindland, we have been together for a long time.

MMANews.com: Do you train with Randy Couture at all?

Dan Henderson: I haven’t trained with Randy in a little over two years.

MMANews.com: What are your thoughts on steroids in the sport?

Dan Henderson: Hard to say. I guess the more money involved in a sport the more it is going to become rampant. The thing is, other sports probably are not monitored as closely as we are.

MMANews.com: What do you like to do when you are not training?

Dan Henderson: Hang out with my kids. Hang out by the pool or go horse back riding. I think I might go hunting after my fight.

MMANews.com: So Dan, at this time there is no talk about what will happen with your Middleweight title?

Dan Henderson: At this time, no.

MMANews.com: What are your thoughts on some Middleweights such as the newly crowned WEC champ and Pride veteran Paulo Filho?

Dan Henderson: Paulo is a great fighter but I think he will be staying in the WEC to help build that show. Who knows, maybe we’ll have a fight for his title some day too.

MMANews.com: How many fights do you have left on your contract?

Dan Henderson: We are still going off of my Pride contract.

MMANews.com: So your Pride contract is still in effect?

Dan Henderson: Yeah. I have two fights left on it.

MMANews.com: Ok great Dan. Is there anything you would like to say to your fans before we head out?

Dan Henderson: Just watch me kick some butt at UFC 75.

MMANews.com: Okay. Are there any sponsors you would like to thank?

Dan Henderson: Clinchgear.com.

MMANews.com: Dan, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to talk to me today. Good luck in your next fight.

Dan Henderson: Thank you. Talk to you soon.

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