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Dan Henderson: Daniel Cormier should have wrestled more against Jon Jones

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Dan Henderson saw firsthand how good Daniel Cormier's MMA wrestling game was when the two fought at UFC 173 back in May. So he was surprised Cormier didn't use his greatest strength more frequently against Jon Jones over the weekend at UFC 182.

"That was probably the biggest surprise of it," Henderson told Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "He didn't really attempt too many [takedowns]. The ones he did, I don't know. It seemed like he got in the clinch a couple of times and just kind of pushed off and backed out instead of keeping him there and working on that takedown. I don't know. I think part of that was he ran out of gas at the end of the fight, but he should have been taking him down earlier, I thought. Jones is long and has some good balance. I'm sure it wasn't easy to take him down."

Cormier was relentless with takedowns against Henderson during their fight. At one point, he picked Henderson up over his head and slammed him. Right after, he used a crafty trip to take Henderson off his feet. It isn't like Henderson is a slouch in that department, either -- he, like Cormier, is a former Olympian in wrestling.

Jones ended up taking Cormier down three times in his UFC light heavyweight title-retaining victory Saturday in Las Vegas. Cormier slammed Jones once, but Jones popped right back up. Other than that, Jones seemed very difficult to get to the floor, in both the clinch and from shots. Jones used his height and reach advantages beautifully. Henderson felt Cormier just didn't impose that part of his game enough.

"I thought DC's wrestling would make a difference in that fight and he didn't really utilize it the way he's capable of," Henderson said. "Jones did a great job defending it and putting DC on his back a couple of times."

After falling to Cormier, Henderson decided to drop back down to middleweight. He'll meet Gegard Mousasi at UFC on FOX: Gustafsson vs. Johnson on Jan. 24 in Sweden.

The 44-year-old MMA legend weighed in at just 199 pounds for the Cormier bout and, with a new healthier diet, a cut to 185 would not be that difficult. Of course, getting thrown around by Cormier also played into the decision.

"I was upset at my performance, obviously," Henderson said. "I felt that I'm capable of doing better than that. DC just fought exactly how I would have fought me if I was him. And he was able to do his gameplan perfectly and I didn't stop it."

Perhaps Cormier didn't adhere to his gameplan perfectly against Jones, as Cormier's American Kickboxing Academy teammate Luke Rockhold said Saturday night. But when he did, Jones sure did stop it.

Henderson had Cormier ahead after three rounds, taking the second and third. But he had little doubt that Jones took the fourth and fifth. That's what decided the fight.

"DC just kind of ran out of gas," Henderson said.