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Native Sun News: Dan Henderson - The Walla Walla giant killer

The following story was written and reported by David Michaud, Native Sun News Correspondent. All content © Native Sun News.

Dan Henderson

Dan Henderson The Walla Walla giant killer
By: David Michaud
Native Sun News Correspondent

There may be no man in MMA history that could say they have had a career as successful as Dan “Hendo” Henderson.

Henderson is a member of the Walla Walla tribe of the Northwestern U.S., began his combat career early as he started wrestling at a young age. Growing up on a ranch outside Apple Valley, Calif., he learned exactly what hard work and toughness was; two traits that have defined his fighting career, as he has never been knocked out.

He has been competing at the highest levels of MMA for the past 15 years. He began his MMA career after wrestling on the world stage, which saw him become a two-time U.S. Olympic Alternate.

He currently holds more wins over fighters with championship titles in the biggest MMA organizations with 10, according to leading MMA news website MMAJunkie’s Dany Acosta, than any other fighter. To go along with all his past wins over former champions he is also currently ranked number 3 by the UFC in the 205 pound weight division.

Though he currently competes at 205 pounds he has fought everywhere from 183 to 265 pounds. He was the first, and to this day only person to ever hold two major-promotion world titles when he won the Pride Fighting Championships Middleweight (183) and Light Heavyweight (205) titles.

When he won the Light Heavyweight Title he defeated one of the best 205 pound fighters ever, a man who had a 20-fight winning streak going into the bout, Wanderlei Silva. Even with all these accomplishments Henderson’s days of competing at the top have not yet stopped.

At the ripe age of 42 he is still competing against the top fighters in the world at the UFC. He recently fought former UFC champion Rashad Evans as the main-event of UFC 161. He came out on the wrong side of a split-decision, his second decision loss in a row, and in both instances various pro MMA athletes came out and said they believed Henderson was the winner.

Before his last two fights he was scheduled to fight Jon Jones for the UFC Light Heavyweight Title, unfortunately he suffered a knee injury and had to back out of the fight.

Though he has the body of a 185-pound fighter Henderson has made his name by going up in weight and defeating larger men. One of his most recent larger opponents, Fedor Emelianenko, is considered by many to be the best Heavyweight fighter of all time. That was a fact that “Hendo” paid no attention to as he finished the man they called “The Last Emperor” in the first round, all while going up two weight classes.

With the attitude of “I’ll fight anyone,” as he recently said in his lead up to his bout with Evans, all Henderson wants is to go out and have a good fight.

Unfortunately his last two fights, against Lyoto Machida followed by Evans, he was not able to bring the excitement he is known for.

“Normally that’s not my type of fight, a little bit boring,” said Henderson. “He did a good job moving around and was real hard to hit. I needed to stay in his face and cut him off a little bit better and make him fight. He did a good job not fighting.”

The two fight losing streak is Henderson’s might make some question whether “Hendo” should hang up the gloves on his legendary career. Well, he has different plans that include a summer off and then jumping right back in.

“I’ve got a couple trips planned with my kids this summer,” said Henderson, “so I’d at least like to have a summer this year and then get back in there before the end of the year.”

When he comes back he still has his sights on not only competing, but being the best in the world. Along with being the best, he also wants to go back to putting on exciting fights, such as when he defeated former champion Shogun Rua in what UFC President Dana White called “one of the top three fights” in MMA history.

So with Henderson coming off two straight losses there may be questions regarding his future, luckily for fans everywhere he plans on continuing what he has been doing his entire adult life; beating people up. As Dana White said after the fight about where he thinks “Hendo” stands in the UFC, “Dan Henderson lands that right hand on anybody, anybody can go out.”

Copyright permission by Native Sun News

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