He was always an inspiring athlete at any age but now at 45 years old, Dan Henderson should be an inspiration to anybody over the age of 30. It was claimed by many that Hendo’s success in recent years came as a result of the TRT (Testosterone Replacement Therapy) that he had been prescribed and that once he was off it, his career would be over.
Although Hendo has suffered a couple of set backs in recent years I would argue that this was not as a result of being off TRT. Dan’s last fight whilst on TRT was a rematch with Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua at UFC Fight Night 38, on March 23rd 2014.
In the 3 years prior to that fight, that is from March 2011, Dan Henderson had seven fights, winning four and losing three.
March 5th 2011 – Raphael Cavalcante Feijao – Strikeforce
Hendo wins by TKO in Round 3
July 30th 2011 – Fedor Emelianenko – Strikeforce
Hendo wins by TKO in Round 1
November 19th 2011 – Mauricio Rua – UFC 139
Hendo wins by Unanimous Decision after 5 rounds
February 23rd 2013 – Lyoto Machida – UFC 157
Lyoto Machida wins by Split Decision after 3 rounds
June 15th 2013 – Rashad Evans – UFC 161
Rashad Evans wins by Split Decision after 3 rounds
November 9th 2013 – Vitor Belfort – UFC Fight Night 32
Vitor Belfort wins by KO in the round 1
March 23rd 2014 – Mauricio Rua – UFC Fight Night 38
Hendo wins by TKO in round 3
So from these seven fights, Dan Henderson went 4-3; two of those losses were pretty close decisions that could really have gone either way, the third was legitimate knockout from Vitor Belfort, although Hendo did look a little sluggish in this fight and that head kick would have dropped an elephant.
Since March 5th 2011, his last fight with a TRT exemption certificate Hendo has lost two straight fights and won one. The first loss coming via a mauling from a much larger Daniel Cormier, with Hendo weighing in at a mere 199lbs, the second via another vicious KO from Gegard Mousasi.
Many claimed Hendos losses were because of the TRT ban and were calling for his retirement but Hendo wasn’t done yet. Even with TRT therapy, Cormier would have mauled Dan with his shear size and strength and superior wrestling. The KO from Mousasi was, like Belfort’s, legitimate; although many fans and Dan did think that the stoppage was premature.
I’ll let you be the judge:
May 24th 2014 – Daniel Cormier – UFC 173
Daniel Cormier wins by RNC in round 3
January 24th 2015 – Gegard Mousasi – UFC on Fox 14
Mousasi wins by TKO in round 1
June 6th 2015 – Tim Boetsch – UFC Fight Night 68
Hendo wins by KO in round 1
(Watch this one with sound off)
Henderson’s age is a factor in his performance there is no question of that. His movement is much slower than it was even three years ago, you can see this in his fight against Feijao versus his last fight with Boetsch. He just doesn’t move the same, although he has always been a little flat footed he seems to plod a little more than he used to. Hendo also relies much more on his boxing and in particular the heavy right hand than he does on the wrestling that he was so well known for but then so much more energy is used when wrestling that he no doubt realises that he would gas much quicker if he wrestled more. He does use the wrestling when necessary and he still has excellent take down defence.
Comparing Dan’s punching power from the fights with Feijao and Fedor four years ago to the punching power from the Boetsch fight, there doesn’t appear to be any difference whatsoever, on TRT or off TRT, Hendo is one of the heaviest hitters in the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions and is as dangerous now as he has always been.
Hendos next fight is November 7th 2015 when he faces Vitor Belfort in a rubber match at UFC Fight Night Brazil. Belfort has been criticised himself for TRT usage as well as other more ‘potent’ supplements, testing positive for banned substances back in 2006. Will he be on anything on November 7th? we will just have to wait and see but Dan isn’t concerned either way
He says that, ultimately, he doesn’t care what Belfort or anyone may or may not be using and may or may not be getting away with. “I’m beating Vitor regardless of him being on drugs or not”
“I’m still capable of beating him, and I’m happy that the UFC has implemented its drug-testing. That’s something that I’ve been asking for, for a long time.”