Dan Henderson speaks with Living Out Loud LA about facing Daniel Cormier in UFC 173. (Alfredo Leal/Living Out Loud LA)
Undefeated mixed martial artist Daniel Cormier and Dan Henderson met with the media Monday at the JW Marriott Hotel in downtown Los Angeles to promote their upcoming fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nev.
After coming off of three consecutive losses, Henderson had an impressive fight against Maurício “Shogun” Rua via strikes at 1:31 in the third round on March 23, 2014.
Two months later, he hopes to continue his legacy by coming out with victory against Cormier on May 24.
“I’m just out there making sure I’m landing punches and making sure I win every round,” Henderson replies when asked if he’s going for the knock-out victory. “Hopefully I land a nice punch that knocks the guy out. I want to make sure I’m winning the rounds and out-punching him.”
Henderson has yet to face a fighter like Cormier who’s strengths comes off of wrestling.
“I had to add a couple of things because the style is different than most.” Henderson says. “I’ve worked on the wrestling a little bit more. Worked on the speed and hand speed a little bit. I feel very confident going into this fight.”
“He’s a little bit sloppy with his sticking, but he’s definitely improved over the years,” adds Henderson. “He’s a little crisper and has straighter punches, but there are definitely some holes that I can take advantage of. I want to make sure I try and push his conditioning, too. He really hasn’t been hit either, so I definitely want to test that chin. “
Henderson has been an underdog in previous fights and has shown his critics that everything there is to prove is left in the octagon.
“I don’t even care about it,” Henderson says when asked if being an underdog is motivation for him. “I know what I’m capable of doing. People are going to have their own opinions, and I really don’t pay attention to that or how much of an underdog I am. If anything, I guess it motivates me, but it’s not something I’m going to take [personally]. I guess people will find out after the fight.”
Cormier began his professional career as a UFC fighter in 2009 and since then has had plenty of impressive victories. This is his first time fighting at the mecca of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“I’m feeling good.” Cormier says. “It’s a big fight for me; a fight that gives me a title shot. I’m excited.”
Cormier is 14-0, and he doesn’t plan on losing his undefeated record. He’s well aware that Henderson has eight years of experience on him, but has studied him well and believes he will come out with a victory.
“You have to make sure you circle to your right, away from his power,” Cormier answers when asked how he plans to win against Henderson. “For the most par,t I make sure to focus on myself. I’m a believer that if I do what I’m supposed to do, the fight will take care of itself and I’ll take care of my opponent.”
Cormier can soon be declared as the No. 1 contender at the UFC level, but first, he must remain focused on the fight this upcoming Saturday.
“I think I am [the No. 1 contender],” Cormier says. “But I have to beat Dan Henderson. I’ve been very open about it. I’ve told everyone that will listen. I’ve told the UFC, I’ve told Dana [White] directly, ‘Hey, if this gets me a title shot then [let’s make it happen],’ and he seems to agree so far.”
When asked if he plans to return to UFC heavyweight class, Cormier smiles and says, “No, no plans to go back to heavyweight. Cain Velasquez is not losing that title belt any time soon.”
UFC 173 takes place this Saturday. For more information, visit ufc.com/event/UFC173.