Saturday night would have been a perfect night for Dan Henderson to call it a career.
After a rough stretch to the tune of five losses in six fights, the MMA legend flattened Tim Boetsch in just 28 seconds in the main event of UFC Fight Night 68 in New Orleans. What could be better than knocking a ranked fighter out with that famous right hand, having a few cold beers on Bourbon Street and then riding off into the sunset for good?
Well, "Hendo" plans on trying to find that out. The 44-year-old admits that this would have been a proper sendoff for his incredible 18-year career, but he said he has no intentions of retiring any time soon.
"It would, but I guess I'll have to do that in the next couple fights also," Henderson said at the post-fight press conference.
Henderson (31-13) had plenty of naysayers coming into this fight after being knocked out in just 1:10 by Gegard Mousasi at UFC on FOX 14 in January. The only win the former PRIDE and Strikeforce champ had since 2011 before Saturday was a third-round knockout of Mauricio Rua in a fight that he was losing in rather one-sided fashion up until that point.
"When I say I'm not done and nobody believes me, it's nice to come out and prove that I'm not quite done yet," Henderson told Jon Anik afterward.
Maybe middleweight agrees with him better at this point in his illustrious career. But Henderson left the door open for a return to light heavyweight as well.
"It doesn't matter," Henderson said. "It's always nicer to fight lighter guys, but it's always fun to not cut weight and eat up to weigh-ins. Whatever. It doesn't matter to me. I'm just enjoying the sport and still beating the top guys."
Boetsch (18-9) came in ranked No. 13 among UFC middleweight contenders. The results are hard to argue with: Even in his mid-40s, Henderson can probably beat most fighters outside the upper echelon of both divisions. "Hendo" rocked Boetsch on the first exchange with a right hand and never let him get back into the fight. An uppercut put Boetsch down seconds later and Henderson pounced.
"I wasn't gonna let him off the hook," Henderson said. "I knew I had him hurt and the fight was almost over. We just wanted to make sure it was done."
Henderson has one of the best résumés in MMA history. He's the only MMA fighter ever to hold two major titles concurrently in different weight classes when he held the PRIDE middleweight and welterweight belts at the same time. Henderson is a former Strikeforce light heavyweight championship and also owns wins over the likes of Fedor Emelianenko, Wanderlei Silva, Vitor Belfort and many more.
Boetsch might not have a name like those men, but he became yet another on the long list of H-Bomb victims Saturday night.
"After the last couple years I've had, it probably feels extra special to get back to my old self and the ways that I like to finish fights," Henderson said.