UFC 146: Dan Henderson open to replacing Alistair Overeem against Junior dos Santos in Title bout
Apr 7, 2012 - 11:45:02 PM

By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

With UFC President Dana White saying that the UFC 146 co-main event in Frank Mir vs. Cain Velasquez will happen, there didn't seem to be a clear option to replace Alistair Overeem if he's officially denied a license later this month.

Overeem's in danger of being removed from the Heavyweight Title fight against Junior dos Santos after testing positive for an elevated T/E ratio at 14:1. The Nevada State Athletic Commission has requested that Overeem's situation be addressed at the April 24 hearing, and if it goes as expected he'll likely be pulled from the bout.

That leaves few heavyweight options for the UFC to choose from if they're not pulling Mir or Velasquez, but one name outside of the division has now popped up: Dan Henderson.

Henderson, who defeated Mauricio "Shogun" Rua last November in his return to the UFC, is currently awaiting a title shot against the winner of Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans, and has opted against taking any other fight. However, when asked by a fan if he'd take a fight with Dos Santos if asked, Henderson responded "for sure."

It wouldn't be the first time he's fought at heavyweight, either, as he defeated Fedor Emelianenko last June in a heavyweight fight in Strikeforce. He weighed just 206 lbs. for the bout, but it was still technically a heavyweight fight.

The UFC hasn't yet made any official decision on a replacement, but have confirmed that dos Santos will remain on top of the card.

Penick's Analysis: I wasn't thinking about Henderson as an option before, but with Mir-Velasquez remaining intact, Henderson's the name that's likely going to be tapped here. It makes sense for him, because it's a shot at a UFC Title, which is what he's really hoped to get to. Further, even if he loses - which to be honest he'd be expected to - he could still be the next man to face the winner of Jones-Evans. Losing at heavyweight, to the Heavyweight Champion, wouldn't take him out of contention at 205 lbs., and if he were to upset dos Santos it would be an incredible feat. I think Henderson's going to be the name if and when Overeem is officially taken out of the fight.

[Dan Henderson art by Grant Gould (c)]

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