Dan Henderson fans, get your cash out. MMA Mania gives us the heads-up that Hendo is as high as a +196 underdog for his UFC 157 fight against Lyoto Machida on February 23rd. (In other words, a $100 bet on Henderson would return $196 in profit if he wins.) Considering that Henderson is coming back from a knee injury, it’s understandable that the oddsmakers don’t have complete faith in him. But considering how dangerous Henderson has looked in his last four fights — the epic war with Shogun Rua at UFC 139, and his knockouts of Fedor, Feijao, and Babalu in Strikeforce — it still feels like he’s being sold short.
Then again, you have to consider how Henderson matches up with Machida specifically. Sure, Hendo can turn your lights off with that H-Bomb if you stand in front of him, but he might have a problem with Machida’s skill at evasion and his perfectly-timed attacks from unorthodox angles. Are the odds juicy enough to warrant a bet on the old ‘dog?
(“Lyoto, we’re friends and all, but if I catch you crouched beside the urinals with a chalice one more time, there are going to be some serious problems.” Photo courtesy of Machida’s Twitter.)
Well, we can pretty much put any doubt to rest in regards to Lyoto Machida’s strategy for his upcoming UFC 157 fight with Dan Henderson. The former champion recently Tweeted the above photo of himself training alongside Melvin Manhoef, the world renowned Muay Thai kickboxer who possesses legs so destructive that they are capable of implosion, so expect a Machida gameplan of “Leg kick, evade, repeat” heading into this one. This is not good news for Hendo, who will be stepping back into the ring for the first time since blowing out his knee and setting into motion a series of events that would culminate in the cancellation of UFC 151 and an absolutely brutal public backlash aimed at champion Jon Jones. So yeah, it wasn’t all bad.
Since going winless during his Strikeforce and DREAM runs in 2010-2011, Manhoef has put together three wins and a no-contest in MMA competition, including a first round destruction of Denis Kang on New Year’s Eve at DREAM 18. Machida, on the other hand, recently rebounded from a failed title bid against Jones at UFC 140 with a second round KO of Ryan Bader at UFC on Fox 4 last August.
After the jump: A video testament to Manhoef’s otherworldly striking power. Seriously, he and Rousimar Palhares must be like the Freddy and Jason of the ACL dimension.
(“Oh, Georges, you couldn’t pull off a mean mug if you tried. Your eyes, they just have too much…soul in them.”)
You might not know this about the CagePotato writing staff, but not a one of us is a UFC-caliber fighter. Sure, Elias lays boots to asses every now and again and Goldstein once slapped Bas Rutten in public and lived to tell the tale, but none of us here at CP have ever had a situation arise where we forced to fight one of our fellow writers for the right to be called “King of the Mountain.” So maybe we’re not the correct sources to come to when discussing whether teammates in a given MMA camp should be more open to fighting one another or not. Then again, none of us (to my knowledge) have ever been busted for steroids before, yet we’re perfectly fine casting our respective opinions toward those who have, so here we go.
(This fan-made hype video was first posted to YouTube on September 30th. Wow. CletusDamVan must have read The Secret.)
Ugh, you guys, I had the worst dream last night. I was at home, but it was actually the house I grew up in, you know? I was watching TV, and suddenly all the lights went out. Dana White walked in through the back door. He told me — and here’s the freaky part — that Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen would be coaching the next season of The Ultimate Fighter, and they’d actually be fighting for the light-heavyweight belt in April. I was like, “Why? Why are you doing this?” And he said, “Because I fucking hate you.” And when he said that, I realized it wasn’t Dana White, it was my own father. Then, my teeth started cracking and falling out one by one, and-OH MY GOD NO! AHHHHHHHH! THIS CAN’T HAPPEN! THIS CAN’T HAPPEN! [scene]
Look, we’re not alone in our utter distaste for this booking. Elsewhere on the Internet, pundits have called Jones vs. Sonnen (vs. TUF) a thinly-veiled money grab that reeks of desperation and sets a horrible precedent. But this matchup is now our reality, and we have to deal with reality on reality’s terms. Here’s a sample of the fallout and news updates that yesterday’s bombshell kicked up:
- Tweet of the Day, from Dan Henderson: “I guess I should just quit training to win fights and to be exciting for the fans and just go to shit talking school. @danawhite”. Dan and Chael might be bros from way back, but that clearly doesn’t make this news any easier for Hendo to swallow. It’s insulting, really. Henderson is still the most rightful challenger to Jones’s belt, but an ill-timed injury has apparently put him on the UFC’s “pay no mind” list. Don’t make us say it.
Dan Henderson’s knee injury and the refusal by Jon Jones to fight his chosen replacement, Chael P. Sonnen on 8 days notice, forced the first UFC event cancelation in history and the infamous Dana White conference call to announce the goings-on took the MMA world by storm. DW chastised and spewed vitriol towards JBJ’s unwillingness to step up to fight Sonnen which infuriated the UFC brass as a whole. Likewise, it enraged the Bones nuthuggers and haters who in turn inundated the CP comment section for more than a week with well-reasoned arguments but mostly sophomoric jabs involving nipples.
Now Lyoto MachidaVitor Belfort has been named JBJ’s next opponent but that is not stopping Sonnen from getting ready to fight the man that turned down his challenge. The American Gangster expects to walk to the octagon and go mano y mano with Bones next weekend.
Dana White told mmajunkie.com:
“Chael Sonnen is in full training camp right now. He’s been training since he got offered the Jones fight. He said, ‘I’m in full camp right now because Vitor will get hurt and pull out, and it will be Jones vs. Sonnen, anyway.’”
So does that mean that Henderson keeps his spot at the front of the 205-pound contender-line when he heals up? Not exactly. According to a new report from Dave Meltzer on MMAFighting, UFC president Dana White now intends to have Hendo and Machida fight each other to determine the true #1 LHW contender. The planned booking seems to be motivated at least partly by anger. As Meltzer writes:
UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has been derided as immature, arrogant and selfish for much of his career, especially since turning down a short-notice replacement fight against Chael Sonnen at UFC 151 after Dan Henderson dropped out due to injury. But in a recent interview with the Associated Press, Jones sounded calm, collected and measured, especially in comparison to organization president Dana White‘s comments on the situation, as he spoke about what he’s learned. He also publicly criticized White for the first time, which probably won’t help his reputation among the fans who already despise him.
“I had to do what’s right for myself by turning down that fight, Dana had to do what was right for himself by putting the blame on everyone else except for himself,” Jones told Dan Gelston of the AP. “The lesson to be learned is, at the end of the day, you have to protect yourself and your family.”
Jones told the AP that he has not yet spoken with his boss about the comments, but appears to have had his eyes opened to how quickly UFC brass and fans can turn on him. ”I think in the future, this can make me and Dana even better off,” Jones said. ”For him to get out how he felt about me in that situation, it will help me look at things more business-oriented. A lot of good can come out of it. Fighters can learn the lesson of doing what’s best for themselves and not feeling like puppets. I think the UFC has learned a lesson of making sure they stay loyal to the fans and give them full cards.”