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Dan Henderson: I Would Give the Edge to Nate Marquardt

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Middleweight title contender Dan Henderson is picking Nate Marquardt to come out on top against Demian Maia in Saturday's UFC 102 fight that could determine the next opponent for either Henderson or champion Anderson Silva.

"I would have to go with Marquardt," Henderson said Friday before the weigh-ins. "He's good enough not to get submitted – although Demian is better than anybody with submissions.

"I just think Demian is a little bit too green on his feet and Marquardt's too comfortable everywhere. I would give the edge to Marquardt even though I think it's going to be a back and forth technical fight."

Henderson said the fight is the one he's looking forward to the most at UFC 102, and it's obvious why. UFC president Dana White stated Thursday that he will wait and see what happens Saturday to decide what's next for Silva.

The other possibility is the one Silva's camp has suggested, which would match Henderson against the winner of Marquardt vs. Maia for a shot at Silva's belt. If that were to happen, Henderson said Maia would be a better matchup for him.

"It would be like the fight I had three fights ago against Rousimar Palhares," the former PRIDE champion said. "He's really, really good on the ground. I'm comfortable there and I can really take advantage of his lack of striking in that fight."

But Henderson is hoping that the UFC keeps its word when he was deemed the No. 1 contender following his knockout win over Michael Bisping at UFC 100 in July.

"That's what Dana wanted to announce," Henderson said. "Hopefully [Silva] steps up and fights me."

And if not, Henderson says he will set his sights on another target - light heavyweight.

"I'm in the game to challenge myself and to beat the top guys," Henderson said when asked about fighting light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida. "Whether it's 185 or 205, that's what I want to do. If I don't get a chance at Anderson right now then I want to fight one of the top guys at 205 to get me a title shot there."

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