“I’m holding firm for what I think I deserve. I think I’ve earned that…. If they sign me I’ll fight who they want me to fight. Even if I get Silva now, after I beat him Marquardt would be the top contender, so I’d have to fight him next. Beat him now or beat him later, it doesn’t matter. I’ll have to fight [Nate] Marquardt eventually…. If I was the UFC I wouldn’t waste a fight between [me and Marquardt]. If they want challengers for the middleweight belt they shouldn’t want one of us to beat the other…. It all depends on Anderson Silva,” Henderson said. “If he’s not going to fight until April, I don’t want to wait that long. But I’ll do what I have to do to fight him…. I’m getting in shape like I’m going to fight,” Henderson said. “I want to stay in the UFC.
Former and now current UFC middleweight No. 1 contender, Dan Henderson, addresses the issues currently facing him including contract status and possible fight against Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva.
It has been rumored recently that the highly debated No. 1 contender fight between Henderson and fellow middleweight contender Nate Marquardt would take place, perhaps as soon as at UFC 105 in mid November as the main event on that card.
Well, just as Henderson comments here, that fight makes little to no sense even if Silva does indeed need some time off to heal an elbow injury. Despite previous reports circulating the web recently, Silva's manager has denied his fighter having elbow surgery to ESPN's MMA blogger Jake Rossen.
To me, this whole Middleweight situation is attempting to be dictated by Ed Soares, Silva's manager. He believes that Silva shouldn't be required ultimately to defend his title against both Henderson and Marquardt when he has already beat both in the past.
What Soares and Silva need to understand is both have improved since the last time they contended for the title, Marquardt in particular. Whereas Henderson has always been right at the top of the heap in the 185 pack as a former champion (in Pride), Marquardt has continually impressed with each successive fight by simply getting better.
Whereas Henderson is banking on the experience of fighting Silva already to pull off the upset, Marquardt can point to being markedly improved since their fight in July 2007.
It doesn't make sense to risk both contenders in an "eliminator" match when you can have both fight for the belt in a division that has historically been starving for contenders. Let's face it, an "eliminator" bout is thusly named for a reason -- it eliminates one contender if not both. The fighters could get injured, they could look bad, etc. It does nothing to promote the division, to promote the belt.
Henderson isn't going anywhere. He will remain in the UFC because that is the only place for him, period. Props to him, though, for holding out for the fight that makes sense and money he deserves.