(Video courtesy of YouTube/ClinchGear)
In a recent interview Dana White did with 5thRound.com, the UFC president clarified that Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Dan Henderson will now be fighting exclusively for the UFC, which has led to even more speculation about the future of the promotion that was bought by Zuffa earlier this year. Since acquiring Strikeforce the UFC has picked clean the lion’s share of the promotion’s marquee talent, including Henderson and two of its other six remaining champions, Nick Diaz and Alistair Overeem.
Not surprisingly, Zuffa hasn’t shown any interest in Strikeforce’s two female champions, Cris Cyborg and Meisha Tate, but with White making pointed remarks like “the future of Strikeforce depends on Showtime,” it’s clear that the end is near for the red headed stepchild of the Fertitta’s promotional portfolio and it’s only a matter of time before its other belt holders like Gilbert Melendez and Luke Rockhold migrate over to the UFC as well.
White’s comments, which in spite of the fact that most networks would give their right arms to sign a broadcast deal with Strikeforce (even with the picked over carcass of the organization’s remaining roster), further supports the notion that as was the case with the WFA and PRIDE, neither he nor the Fertittas bought the formerly Scott Coker-run promotion for any other reason than to cherry-pick its stars to fight in the Octagon.
In a recent interview he did with his Clinch Gear Radio podcast, Henderson touched on the inevitability that Strikeforce likely won’t be around for much longer and expressed his disappointment with the situation.
“It feels good to be back in the UFC, but I guess I just love the sport. I am nervous about the future of Strikeforce. I’d like for that to continue to be strong and I was somewhat excited when the UFC purchased it. Hopefully they can get some good TV deals and make that work as well, but I’m a little sad that I don’t know what’s going to happen with my belt. I haven’t heard anything about that. We’ll see what happens.”
What will happen is Henderson will face Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in the main event of UFC 139: Shogun vs. Henderson November 19 at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California and the winner will likely get a shot at the winner of Rashad Evans and Jon Jones when the pair meet in late 2011 or early 2012.
Hendo doesn’t have much luck when it comes to being a champion in a promotion with staying power.