Dan Henderson ended his extraordinary career being cheered by an English crowd. At 46, he had just given everything he could to beat UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping, and very nearly did, making the partisan crowd’s adulation all the more amazing.
Hendo has just been praised by Bisping.
“Dan Henderson hits hard and he opened up a couple of big cuts on my face,” said Bisping, as transcribed by Will Griffee for MailOnLine. “But I feel completely fine, I remember everything about the fight.
“The crowd were amazing. I could hear the energy from the fans throughout the entire event. I want to thank them all for showing so much energy, it was incredible. I really felt that.
“Big respect to Dan Henderson. He’s a legend of the sport and I want to say well done to him. It’s amazing what he’s achieved in this sport and to be able to fight at this level, and bring it like that, at his age – I just have massive respect for him. Now I look forward to the next one. I’ve still got the belt, I’m still the champion and I’m very happy. It was close but it’s never easy.
“Now I look forward to the next one. I’ve still got the belt, I’m still the champion and I’m very happy. It was close but it’s never easy. If it was easy, everybody would do it. Until the next time. God bless England.”
And with that, the mic went to Dan Henderson.
“That was the last time that anyone will see me fight live,” he said. “So. I appreciate … I appreciate all the support throughout the years worldwide. You know I gave my heart and soul to this sport. And fans like you, even though you booed me at the beginning of the night, it made it worthwhile for me to keep competing year after year.
“I just absolutely love this sport. I want to say thank you to the fans for making this fight happen. And thank you to Michael Bisping for giving me this opportunity, for my last fight for the belt. I came up short, but not bad for an old man huh?”
Bisping clapped and the cheers rose “Hendo! Hendo! HENDO!”