Time may not wait for any man, but it seems as if Father Time is one who fears and respects Dan Henderson.
For nearly two decades, the legendary knockout artist has been settling his opposition on stages across the globe, and has carved out his reputation as one of the gamest fighters to ever compete in mixed martial arts. In the process of stamping one of the finest resumes in the history of the sport, the now 44-year-old former Olympian has also collected various championships that have added to his status to one of the best to have ever traded leather inside the Octagon.
And while those sentiments may seem to be focused on the past, that’s where Father Time wanting no piece of him comes into play.
The former two-division PRIDE champion is not only still slinging “H-Bombs” on the sport’s biggest stage, but he is just as dangerous as he’s ever been. For a fighter with the leveling power Henderson has flexed over the years and across multiple weight classes, that’s saying something. And when it comes to saying something, the former middleweight title challenger has no problem voicing his wish that the media would shift the attention to the work he’s about to do, rather than the numbers on his birth certificate.
“It seems that people want to focus on my age nowadays rather than focusing on the fight, but it’s whatever they want to talk about,” Henderson said. “I don’t find it exciting.”
While Henderson’s time in the sport may be a frequent topic of discussion, another undeniable element in that equation is the vast amount of experience he’s accrued. He’s been in the game longer than the vast majority of names on the current UFC roster, and his numerous bouts inside the Octagon have made him one of the savviest fighters in the game.
That said, 18 years spent under the bright lights also comes with countless hours spent inside the gym, but it’s part of the process Henderson has come to embrace. He knows it’s a necessary part of what needs to be done in order for him to be at his best, and hard work has never been something “Hendo” shies away from.
“A lot of things are the same routine, but every guy I fight is a little bit different,” Henderson said. “Each of them brings a different challenge and that motivates me. The sport and all the possibilities that could happen in the fight are all still very exciting to me. I enjoy it and those are the things that keep me going.
“It’s tough to get out there and bang every day, and I wouldn’t be able to do that and get myself ready to fight if I weren’t motivated. If I didn’t want to be here then there’s no way I could get through the preparation it takes. But I feel good and ready to go. I’m ready to go five rounds.”
And keep going he has. In addition to Henderson being a perennial top-ranked fighter in either the light heavyweight or middleweight divisions over the past decade, he’s also risen to become one of the premier knockout artists under the UFC banner. Armed with his signature overhand right, appropriately labeled the “H-Bomb,” the California native has separated a collection of great fighters from their respective consciousness.
If the knockout is the equivalent to taking a baseball out of the yard, Henderson is easily one of the definitive home run hitters of the current era.
“It’s a great feeling when you land that clean shot and you have your opponent hurt,” Henderson explained. “When you have enough power on your shot to knock someone out, that’s definitely a great feeling when it connects.”
Henderson will be once again be looking to get his long ball game working on Saturday night when he faces Tim Boetsch on Saturday night in New Orleans. “The Barbarian” is as gritty as they come in the middleweight ranks, and has proven to be one of the most resilient fighters in the division since dropping down to 185 back in 2011.
Boetsch has an established track record of being difficult to put away, but one would be hard pressed to find another fighter more up to that challenge than Henderson. That’s simply what he loves to do, and the veteran bomber is looking forward to mixing things up with Boetsch on Saturday night in “The Crescent City.”
“I’m hoping to go out there and finish him,” Henderson said of Boetsch. “But he’s a tough and durable guy. He’s going to make that difficult, but I’m going to do my best to finish him early.”