Five years ago Dan Henderson had his pick of the proverbial MMA litter. When his UFC contract expired Hendo had the skills and notoriety to sign with any promotion in the world, eventually siding with Strikeforce once he and Dana White could not find an economic middle ground.
But this isn’t 2009, and this isn’t a 38-year old Henderson who, even for his age, warranted a superstar caliber contract. His most recent UFC contract just expired, only this time, Henderson is having a tough time convincing the UFC that he is worth a lucrative offer.
“We’re working on a deal with UFC but there is still a ways to go to get the deal done,” Henderson said during his appearance on The MMA Hour earlier this week. “We’re working on it. It’s mostly financial (issues). It’s a value issue. I’m confident we should be able to get a deal done. We are a ways apart, but I want to have a meeting with them, we’ve mostly done emails and by phone so far.”
Following his UFC Fight Night 32 loss to Vitor Belfort, Henderson said that he still has a lot left in the tank. However, a three-fight losing streak coupled with the first KO loss of his career hasn’t inspired much confidence.
According to Henderson, the UFC’s proposed contract extension is less than 50 percent of the original agreement. Several factors contribute to this, including his age, questions about his health, and how stacked the UFC light heavyweight division is.
“I was fairly surprised that we are as far away from what I felt a fair offer would have been. I don’t know if I would go as far as saying I was insulted, because I know what they’re trying to accomplish in trying to get everybody for as cheap as they can, that’s what they like to do. I don’t take it personally. But, it was a lot lower than I expected.”
White hasn’t commented on the ongoing negotiations, but Henderson says he expects a 4-6 fight deal finalized within the next few weeks. Unfortunately, it seems more and more likely that it won’t be in the UFC.