Is a Heavyweight Fight Against Fedor Emelianenko Fair to Dan Henderson?
After a month of discussing a potential Strikeforce fight between Dan Henderson and Fedor Emelianenko, one was finally agreed to by both fighters. The bout will be in July, and according to MMA Weekly, it will be at 220 pounds. Getting the fighters to agree on a weight was the tough part, and if it is at 220 pounds, I have to ask the question: is that fair to Dan Henderson?
Whether it’s been in Pride, the UFC, or Strikeforce, Dan Henderson has always been down to fight any opponent. He’s competed at lightweight, welterweight, middleweight, and light heavyweight classes, and he’s currently a highly-ranked light heavyweight and middleweight fighter. To give you an idea of his flexibility, he fought both Nogueira brothers in the span of less than three years even though one is a heavyweight and the other is a light heavyweight. Hendo’s management also seems unconcerned with the weight issue, saying since Henderson is challenging Fedor, it should be at Fedor’s preferred weight.
Still, even if Hendo is down like usual, this to me is more about Fedor. His loss to Big Foot Silva showed he was at a huge size and weight disadvantage and he was subsequently dominated. Even in a win against Hong Man Choi, Fedor was beat up pretty good by the 7-footer. He needs to fight opponents more his size, and Hendo is an undersized opponent. If he can’t beat Henderson at 220 pounds, which is an unfair weight for Dan, then he needs to retire. But even if Henderson is open to a fight at 220 pounds, that doesn’t seem to be fair. A fair fight should be somewhere in between where each man generally fights.
Fedor typically weighs in at 225-230 pounds for his fights. Henderson has been fighting at light heavyweight where the limit is 205 pounds. If anything seems fair, it would be a 215-pound limit that makes Fedor cut down more weight to make himself more even with Hendo. As it is, it seems like Hendo would be at too much of a disadvantage.