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Dan Henderson on ‘cheater’ barbs: Michael Bisping’s body has changed more than mine

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

TORRANCE, Calif. — Ever the wily veteran, Dan Henderson tried to turn the tables on Michael Bisping at a recent UFC 204 gym day.

When asked about Bisping's comments about Henderson's past "cheating," the Henderson told reporters that he thinks Bisping has seen a greater transformation physically over the years than he has.

Bisping has hit Henderson repeatedly over his use of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), which was legal with a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) at the time. TRT was banned altogether by commissions in 2014.

"I think he's a little bit naive about certain things," said Henderson, who challenges for Bisping's middleweight title in the main event of UFC 204. "I was taking TRT when it was legal and really wasn't taking much. That's why I think it's funny. I think his body has changed more since we fought the first time than mine has. He looks a lot bigger and a lot different now than he did then. I look about the same except for maybe a little grayer here and there."

Technically speaking, someone using TRT, even when it was legal, should only have been doing it with a TUE if it were integral to their ability to keep fighting. That's what a TUE is. However, not one fighter using it retired after TRT was banned. In other words, most, if not all, were gaming the system.

"Dan Henderson, you were on TRT," Bisping said at the gym day. "You were the godfather of TRT. Shame on you. This is the guy that says he needed TRT to be able to compete. Yet years later, he's still competing. This guy is a marvel to modern science. Perhaps if you take his blood, we can find the cure for cancer. Because this guy is an anomaly."

Henderson, 46, does not consider himself someone who used to game the system, just someone who was abiding by the rules in place. "Hendo" has long been a proponent of increased drug-testing in mixed martial arts and is a fan of USADA's partnership with the UFC, comparing it to Olympic testing when he was wrestling.

"I don't care what he says," Henderson said of Bisping. "It doesn't matter to me. I know, in my mind, who I am and how I've been throughout the years. I never tested positive for anything.

"I'm the one guy that's probably been asking for this type of drug-testing for probably five or six years before they started it."

Bisping, 37, won the middleweight title via first-round TKO against Luke Rockhold at UFC 199 back in June. Henderson will be his first title defense Oct. 8 in Manchester, England, which is near Bisping's hometown. The two men fought at UFC 100 back in 2009 and Henderson landed one of the most iconic knockout punches in the sport's history. Bisping will try to get payback next month.

"The Count" was floored by Henderson firing back that Bisping's body had actually changed more than his.

"Yeah, through blood, sweat, and tears and hard work," Bisping said. "Dan Henderson saying that just shows what a moron he is. Take one look at Dan Henderson, you can see there's not much going on in between there. Captain Caveman. Fred Flintstones. Whatever you want to call it. You can see he is a throwback to the Neanderthal man.

"For him to throw out insinuations like that, shame on you Dan Henderson. I've been tested more times than anybody — I don't know if that's accurate, but i'm still gonna do a Chael Sonnen and say that — I've been tested more times than anybody, I've never even come close. Not even a whistle. Not even a hint of suspicion in any of my tests. You can test my blood right now. I will piss in any cup you want."

Bisping is a master at trash talk before a fight. In all his nearly 20 years of MMA competition, Henderson has usually stayed out of the fray in that regard. He said he isn't going to get Bisping's words get to him, just like he didn't seven years ago when he beat the Englishman.

"It doesn't matter to me what he thinks," Henderson said. "It matters to me what I know inside. I'm who I am based on what I've done and what I don't do. I'm completely content with who I am."