Hello from hot and humid Chicago. I love fight week. It brings out so many friends that you have not seen since….well…since the last fight I guess. While that is great for me, I sometimes wonder how the fighters themselves keep their focus. Think about it, you spend the last 6 weeks basically in a cocoon, then right before you are ready to go fight you are dropped down into one of America’s great cities with a bunch of friends and family around you. Could you stay focused? I’m not sure I could.
It has not been a problem for Dan Henderson though. Chicago brings a much different vibe than Henderson’s last two fights against Babalu Sobral, and his most recent outing against the former light heavyweight champion Feijao.
I was in St Louis for the Babalu fight, and it seemed like I ran into Dan everywhere. He looked like he was running for Mayor. He was relaxed, in great shape, and was happy to have dinner with his friends who had flown to St Louis in the middle of the winter to support him. Henderson knew he was better than Babalu, and he proved it in devastating fashion.
While I have only been in Chicago less than 24 hours, I have not run into the champ anywhere. Not in the hotel lobby, walking the streets, or in a local restaurant. I was told last night that Dan has not been out since Tuesday night as he prepares for maybe his toughest fight ever against Fedor.
So what do we make of this? Is Dan more focused than ever? Hell, I don’t know. I just know that his training team is very confident. They understand the challenges that Fedor will pose for Dan, they just think their guy is ready.
I had two different people answer the following question the exact same way. When I asked how Dan was doing in his final preparations, they both replied “Man, he is strong…so damn strong”
I don’t know if you checked out any of the video interviews we have done with fighters that come to Team Quest to train with Dan. Afterwards I will always ask about the experience, and they always start with Henderson’s strength. Tom Lawlor described it as “crazy…old man strength”
We will see how effective that crazy old man strength can be against the bigger man. I posted an interesting interview that Sports Illustrated did with Dana White. When asked about this fight, Dana called it a “lose-lose” for Fedor saying he is fighting a natural 185lb fighter. If he loses, Fedor is done, and if he wins he beat a middleweight.
I found that choice of words from the UFC president very interesting. As most of you know, Henderson’s contract with Strikeforce ends with the Fedor fight. Most people assume that Dan will head back to the UFC, but Dan himself told me he plans on staying with Strikeforce for as long as the promotion is around.
If Dan wins, and if he goes back to the UFC, would Dana White ask the 40 year old Henderson to drop back down to 185 after spending the last year at light heavyweight? Henderson says he can still make 185 easy, and the bad weight cut in Nashville was a fluke.
Could that mean Henderson vs. Silva 2? Again, who knows. I do know Dana White picks his words carefully, and the wheels must be churning in that bald head wondering what to do with Henderson if he is able to beat Fedor.
What happens for Fedor if he wins? In spite of what you may have read on different blogs, people that have seen Fedor this week say he looks to be in good shape. Fedor will never be mistaken for Alistair Overeem, but those that have seen him believe he is taking this fight very serious and has worked hard to be in better shape then he was for past fights.
Can Henderson land one of those “H-Bombs” and put “The Last Emperor” to sleep? What happens if the fight goes to the ground? If the fight goes to the third round does it favor the bigger or the smaller man? So many great questions about this fight, I guess we will have them all answered tomorrow night.