On Feb. 24, following an upset victory over Wanderlei Silva at Pride 33, Dan Henderson became the first fighter in a major mixed martial arts promotion to hold titles simultaneously. Henderson, already the promotion's welterweight title holder, gained Pride's middleweight title by knocking out Silva in the third round.
Henderson ruined visions of a potential dream match between Silva and UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell. We recently had a chance to ask Henderson to touch on a number of topics, including the UFC and whether he's willing to fight Liddell.
Q: You said after the fight that you had been planning to take some time off. Did you not anticipate that you would beat Wanderlei Silva?
DH: No, I thought I could beat him all along. I wouldn't have been in there if I didn't think I was going to win.
Q: Is it true you broke your hand during the fight?
DH: Yes it is, and I'm on my way to the doctor right now to get it X-rayed by my orthopedist to see what the damage is as far as my recovery time.
Q: It's tough enough to be champion of one weight class, let alone two. Do you have any intentions of relinquishing one of the belts?
DH: Not right now. I just got two. It will be a little while. I think I'll defend both belts once and see where it goes from there.
Q: If you had total control in picking your next opponent, who would it be?
DH: I thought at welterweight that I would probably fight (Kazuo) Misaki, but he just lost. I think a good guy for me to fight at that weight class would be Paulo Filho because I think he's the next guy in line. ... I think "Shogun" (Mauricio Rua) would be the guy in line for the middleweight class.
Q: You've been in the ring with Silva twice now. What was the difference in him between the first and second fight?
DH: I thought he came to fight to win, he was throwing some bombs, trying to knock me out. I just felt that after a couple of exchanges on the feet when I tagged him a couple of times, I don't think he was as confident after that. I think the biggest difference that won me the fight was my conditioning. I didn't have any conditioning the first time I fought him. I just wasn't prepared for that (first) fight for various reasons. That was probably the fight I came in least prepared for in my whole career.
Q: Leading up to the fight with Silva, did you change anything from your normal training routine in specific preparation for him?