Although just days away from finally getting his chance at UFC gold this weekend, as he takes on middleweight champion Michael Bisping in his own back yard at UFC 204 in Manchester, England, the veteran still wonders what could have been had he fought former 205lb kingpin Jones.
The former Strikeforce and Pride champion has just one belt missing from his mantelpiece and says heâ€™ll stick to his word and ride off into the sunset, retiring from the sport, following his clashÂ with Bisping. With this being the last hurrah from the MMA legend, itâ€™s given him a chance to reflect on his career.
And JonesÂ still feels likeÂ the one that got away. AtÂ now infamous cancelled UFC 151, HendersonÂ was supposed to challengeÂ Jones for the light heavyweight belt,Â but had to pull out due to injury, ultimately forcing the card to be scrapped.
â€śI trained to fight him, and I was ready to fight him,â€ť Henderson said. â€śI got hurt, and I didnâ€™t get a chance to really test myself against him. That would have been a fun moment for me to see how I do. (Jones) has since then done even better, heâ€™s screwed up a lot more, too. â€śHe is still arguably one of the best pound-for-pound guys out there.â€ť
Even if Henderson thinks twice about retirement following UFC 204 this weekend, the idea of moving up in weight class is firmly in his rear view mirror for the 46-year-old.Â
â€śNo. I mean, over the years, itâ€™s gotten harder to keep my body in the shape I need to, and I think thatâ€™s why I gravitated back down to middleweight,â€ť said Henderson. â€śItâ€™s hard to go against the heavier guys, and having (Daniel Cormierâ€™s) fat ass on top of me didnâ€™t help.
"I was already thinking about (moving back down to middleweight) at that point. When he was on top of me, I needed to decide to go back down in weight, for sure.â€ť