ByDan Henderson, writer at
Official Creators profile of Dan Henderson. Former Pride Fighting Championship and Strikeforce champion. Instagram @danhendo
Dan Henderson

I had a long career, longer than most, and during that time, I had 47 professional fights.

Some were more special to me than others, and some were memorable for other reasons. Today, I figured we’d reminisce on three particular fights:

  • Fighting Fedor
  • Winning Two Simultaneous titles
  • My first fight

Knocking Out "The Last Emperor"

Going into the fight, I think my wife was more nervous than I was. As a matter of fact, she was more nervous about that fight than any other I’d had in the past just because of how he is and how he carries himself. He’s basically got no emotion, and I think that scared my wife.

Me, I was feeling good. I knew I was prepared and I was confident going into that fight. I had no doubt that I had what was necessary to beat him. I’m that way for all my fights, but this one, I was really sure about.

After I knocked him out, I won’t lie, I was feeling pretty spectacular. I had just finished a legend. More than that, I’d just knocked out a guy that I’d admired as a fighter from the first time I saw him compete. I had the utmost respect for him, and looking back on that night, I’m just thankful that it went my way.

PRIDE Gold x 2

The fight that probably holds the most value to me, the most bang for my personal buck, is the second fight. When I knocked him out, I ended up with two PRIDE belts in two different weight classes, so that one is very significant to me.

The other thing I was able to take away from that fight was a measure of vengeance and retribution. He’d beaten me by decision in our first fight, and in doing so, proved he was the better man that day. Even though I’m not one of those guys that needs to get revenge, it was still pretty nice to knock him out.

Watch My First fight

My first fight was all the way back in 1997 at the Brazil Open. I beat a guy named Crezio de Souza, but I can still remember the nerves and anxiety I had back then just like it was yesterday. It wasn’t too bad, but the nerves were definitely on edge. I’d not been involved in many street fights before, maybe once or twice in my life prior to that point.

Even though I’d wrestled and competed my whole life, I was still pretty nervous, especially when they closed the cage door and it was about to go down. I thought to myself, ‘What have I gotten myself into?!’ Then, the ref says go, and from there, it was all instinctual after that. I had no problem focusing on what I needed to do—I just didn’t know what to do because I was so new and so green. I got the job done, but that whole fight was punctuated by anxiety and nervous energy.

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