Dan Henderson created quite the stir last December when he left the world’s premier MMA organization for Strikeforce, a promotion the veteran admitted was “just now getting rolling.”
“I never really felt like I had to defend it at all. It was a good decision for me and that was all there was to it,” Henderson told 5thRound.com of his free agent signing. “I’m sure that [UFC president] Dana White wasn’t happy that I left and would’ve much rather had me over there, but he didn’t value me like I did and like Strikeforce did.”
The Gambling Gods have valued Hendo a 4.5-to-1 favorite to beat champ Jake Shields and capture the middleweight title in his Strikeforce debut.
Henderson owns a dominant 25-7 professional record and as one of the sport’s pioneers, is among the few athletes that can literally say that he’s seen the best and worst of what MMA has to offer. Although he just left the UFC, the 39-year-old veteran finally believes he’s hit the big time.
“It’s a whole different thing with CBS on board, this is mainstream now,” Henderson said of comparing his two most recent employers. “Before, the UFC had a model where they would promote their pay-per-views … They have a Countdown show, they kinda give you a little bit of background on the guys, but it’s mostly about the UFC.
“I’m excited to be a part of CBS, to see what they have. It’s a little bit early in the process. The promotion is just now getting rolling, so we’ll see what happens.”
Henderson and Shields will headline tonight’s “Strikeforce: Nashville” event inside the Bridgestone Arena in Tennessee. The CBS primetime broadcast kicks off at 9PM ET/PT.
Please click the media player below to watch 5thRound.com’s exclusive interview with Henderson: