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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
Rashad Evans defeated Phil Davis last month at UFC on Fox 2 to secure his fight with Jon Jones this April for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship. That win moved him ahead of the other potential challenger in Dan Henderson, and UFC President Dana White said last week that Henderson was going to wait for the winner of that bout instead of taking a fight in between.
However, Henderson now says that's not the case, and he is hoping to get a fight lined up in the spring.
"That was never what I said or anything,” Henderson said in an interview with ESPN.com. "I don't know who said that, but it wasn't me. My thoughts were I was waiting to see what happened with Rashad [Evans] and Phil Davis. That was the only thing I was going to wait for."
Henderson said he's prepared to be on call should either Evans or Jones get hurt before their UFC 145 matchup in Atlanta, but if he's not needed there he'd like to fight someone else.
"Obviously you can't guarantee that nobody gets hurt," Henderson says. “I don't know what the plan is, but I'd fight whoever it is they think would be a good match-up. The problem is there's really nobody right now who fits the bill for a title contention fight, that would make sense to fight me. I don't know. Maybe I'd fight at a different weight class. I don't know if they see anybody at heavyweight that would make sense? But I would prefer to fight someone in April or May."
While heavyweight remains a potential, though unlikely, option, Henderson did say he'd be willing to potentially take on a rematch with Quinton "Rampage" Jackson should "Rampage" defeat Ryan Bader later this month in Japan.
"I would entertain that fight, sure; it's a big fight," he says. "I mean, that's only one win he'd be coming off of. But again, it depends on the circumstances and I don't know what they're talking about in terms of the turnaround after Jones-Evans. Still, the Quinton Jackson-Bader fight is two months before Jones-Evans."
Penick's Analysis: A rematch with "Rampage" would be a fantastic fight for Henderson, as their first bout (which he lost) is still one of the more forgotten and under-appreciated classic bouts in UFC history. However, failing that, he may be better off just waiting for the Jones-Evans winner later in the year for his title fight. Almost any opponent he could be matched up with would be a step backward from the "Shogun" fight and the run he's been on, so holding onto his slot and taking the title fight when it's available would make the most sense. If he wants to stay busy simply to stay busy and collect a paycheck, though, that would be his choice.
[Dan Henderson art by Grant Gould (c) MMATorch.com]
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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