Date of Birth:
The biography of Dan Henderson starts on August 24, 1970 in Downey, California. He grew up in Apple Valley, California.
Training Camp and Fighting Organization:
Henderson trains out of Team Quest and fights for the UFC
Henderson has been wrestling
since the age of five. While attending Victor Valley High School in California, he earned medals at the California State Wrestling Championships
in both 1997 and 1998. His father was one of his high school wrestling coaches. From there, Henderson wrestled for Cal State Fullerton and Arizona State University, where he eventually found himself competing at the 1993 NCAA championships. Later, Henderson participated as a part of the 1992 and 1996 U.S. Olympic teams in Greco-Roman Wrestling.
Early MMA Career in Tournaments:
Henderson's first MMA
matches came on June 15, 1997, when he entered the Brazil Open
, a heavyweight tournament. He defeated Crezio de Souza (TKO) and then Eric Smith (guillotine choke) to claim the title. A year later, he won the UFC 17
tournament by defeating Allan Goes and Carlos Newton by decision. Then in 1999, he took the RINGS: King of Kings
title, defeating MMA superstars like Gilbert Yvel, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
, and Renato "Babalu" Sobral by decision to win the final leg of the tournament.
Champion of Two Different Weight Classes:
Henderson had lost to longtime PRIDE Middleweight Champion Wanderlei Silva
in 2000 at PRIDE 12
via decision. In his final PRIDE fight (PRIDE 33), he got the chance to avenge the loss. At the time, Henderson was the organization's welterweight champion.
In the third round, Henderson landed a huge left hook that ended things viciously in his favor. The win made Henderson the first MMA fighter to hold championship belts in two different weight classes in a major organization. Later, he would lose in his bid to unify the PRIDE and UFC 205 pound titles to Quinton "Rampage" Jackson.
Henderson's outstanding wrestling skills offer him the ability to control fights and implement a ground and pound game plan almost effortlessly. However, over the years he has also come to be known as a guy that likes to stand and bang. His right hand is very fast and possesses tremendous power. Further, his left hand isn't too shabby either, as he proved at PRIDE 33 when he defeated Wanderlei Silva.
Perhaps even more than that, Henderson is known for his legendary toughness and ability to avoid submissions against some of the best Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighters in the world.
Some of Dan Henderson's Greatest Victories:
- Henderson defeats Fedor Emelianenko by TKO at Strikeforce- Fedor vs. Henderson: Though Fedor had lost two straight fights entering this match, it was still Fedor. And anytime a smaller man comes in and roughs up someone of his caliber right after being hurt by the Russian, well, it's something to remember.
- Henderson defeats Michael Bisping by KO at UFC 100: One huge second round right hand from Henderson ended a rivalry born from the two coaching against one another on TUF. Another punch on the ground later just reinforced how vicious the ending to this fight actually was.
- Henderson defeats Wanderlei Silva by KO at PRIDE 33: Years earlier, Silva had defeated Henderson by decision at PRIDE 12. One huge third round left hand sent Silva to the canvas and gave "Hollywood" the PRIDE Middleweight Championship belt.
- Henderson defeats Renzo Gracie by KO at PRIDE 13: Everyone thought that Henderson was simply a ground and pound fighter at the time. This KO said different.
- Henderson defeats Renato "Babalu" Sobral by decision to win the RING: King of Kings 1999 Final: Anytime that you defeat Gilbert Yvel, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, and finally Babalu on the same day to win a tournament, that says something.