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Dan Henderson says some Bellator legends should 'not fight anymore'

Esther Lin photo

LOS ANGELES -- Count Dan Henderson among those who have tuned in to Bellator's legends fights over the past couple years.

Whether it's been Tito Ortiz, Stephan Bonnar, Kimbo Slice, Ken Shamrock, Royce Gracie, or any of the above, Henderson, the only simultaneous two-weight-class major champ the sport has even known, can't help but tune in.

But he's not sure whether Bellator's tentpole attractions should still be fighting.

"I watched, you know, and wondered why I stayed watching it after I saw it," said Henderson, who meets Lyoto Machida next week at UFC on FOX 19. "But I did just like anybody else. But I'd like to see some of those guys not fight anymore."

Henderson's been around the game long enough to know exactly why Bellator has put on these fights. He knows Bellator is the No. 2 promotion in the sport and the legends fights are a way to attract eyeballs and grow the product.

"Bellator is using them to kind of create a little more buzz around them, people to talk about them," Henderson said. "Ultimately they've been trying to grow their stable of fighters with the top guys out there that aren't signed with the UFC. But they've occasionally used some of these older names who have been big names in the sport to help grow their brand. I don't think anybody had the inclination that those fights were going to be good fights."

Henderson, the former PRIDE 183- and 205-pound champ, says there are other ways for fighters to stay involved in the sport when their fighting days are done.

"I think if they want to be involved there's other ways to make money, which, Royce Gracie does that," Henderson said. "He teaches seminars all over the world. He does that and probably didn't need to fight, he probably got paid pretty well for that. But he's not as old as some of the other ones."

Of course, the elephant in the room in this conversation is that Henderson, himself, is no spring chicken -- he's 45 years old and the Machida fight is on the last on his UFC contract. But while he hasn't made up his mind on his future, Henderson has hinted that unlike his Bellator counterparts, this could be his last dance.

"It's going to be one fight at a time," Henderson said. "This is the last one on my contract. I'm going to fight this one and it's one fight at a time. I know that, if things go right and I get offered certain things, maybe I won't fight again."

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