Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Henderson: MMA's best-kept secret?

By: Mike Sloan

Naturally, the hardcore MMA junkies know everything there possibly is to know about Dan Henderson. When it comes to MMA in America, especially when speaking of Generation TUF, almost nobody knows Hendo. Many might think he is Rickey Henderson's brother or a cast member on the long-cancelled farce of a TV show Harry and the Hendersons.

But after Saturday one thing's for sure: Henderson is a much more popular fighter than he's ever been.

Even though a sizeable chunk of the American fight audience has only seen a couple PRIDE events — if any — most knew about Wanderlei Silva. He was supposed to come into the UFC and either obliterate Liddell or at least wage an unforgettable war with "The Ice Man." And just as MMA is exploding beyond expectations, Silva returned to U.S. soil for some action, only to be beaten severely and knocked cold.

In the span of about 13 minutes, the epic showdown between Liddell and Silva changed from "has-to-happen" to "what's-the-point?" And the man to blame for that is not named Sakakibara or White: it's Henderson.

There haven't been too many train depots throughout the world that shipped out official Hendo bandwagons over the years, but after his thrilling upset on Saturday, one can rest assured that new Henderson fans will be pouring out of the woodworks. Not that there is anything wrong with that because Henderson, for the most part, has played second fiddle to former Team Quest teammate Couture for years (at least in America). Henderson has always been, in my opinion, the best fighter out of TQ and hopefully now he'll get what's basically owed to him: more fame and much, much more money.

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