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Dan Henderson: ‘I don’t see myself fighting for more than five or six fights’

Guilherme Cruz, MMA Fighting

Dan Henderson has his back against the wall at next Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 32 in Goiania, Brazil, but a win over Vitor Belfort would change that completely.

As he fights on the last bout of his contract with the UFC, Henderson needs to get back to the win column after consecutive losses to Rashad Evans and Lyoto Machida. Belfort might be the perfect fight for that.

"It's got potential to be a really good match-up," Henderson told the media. "I don’t have to worry with someone trying to take me down the whole time. My fight with Lyoto, he ran around most of the time, and then the fight with Rashad, he tried to take me down most of the time, so it was kind of tough to really fight the way I like to. I believe that with Vitor I’ll be able to do that."

Belfort scored a pair of high kick knockouts in his last appearances inside the Octagon against Luke Rockhold and Michael Bisping, and "Hendo" knows he needs to be careful with Belfort’s new tricks.

"Just don’t get kicked," he said. "Keep your hands up, don’t get kicked and punch him."

Henderson has never been knocked out in his 39-fight career, but he knows he can’t count on his chin forever.

"I’m sure I could (get knocked out)," he said with a laugh. "I was knocked silly a few times. Maybe not out, but I’ve been knocked silly and that’s when you learn to keep your chin down a little better."

Belfort looked unstoppable in his last appearances inside the cage, and Henderson believes his wrestling could be the best way to get the victory.

"Obviously, I think both of us are going to respect each other’s power," he said. "I’m sure if I need to take him down I can, of if I wanna defend takedowns I can. It’s going to come up to how I can control the fight.

"I think I use a little bit of jiu-jitsu in every fight at some point. I’m always very comfortable on the ground. I’m sure I’ll be taking Vitor down at some point of the fight. I don’t know why I don’t go more for submissions when I (take the fight to the ground), I think I like to do more ground and pound. We’ll see."

Henderson is currently ranked six in the UFC, but what would a win over Belfort -- who moved up from 185 pounds for this fight -- do for him?

"I doubt it helps that much," Hendo said. "It’s not the fight I was hoping for but I was excited for this fight as well. I don’t know if it helps me a lot, but we’ll see. It always depends on how the fight goes."

At 43, the former PRIDE middleweight and welterweight champion sees retirement getting near, and he expects to hang up the gloves after five or six fights.

"I’m a year or two away from that," he said. "At least five fights. We’ll see what happens, but my body is feeling good. As long as I can get that going, I’ll be fine. But I don’t see myself fighting for more than five or six fights."

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