Is a win Saturday last chance at a title shot for Evans and Henderson?
Dan Henderson is 42, and coming off a split decision loss to the elusive Lyoto Machida in February, which carried him farther away from a title shot. However, in an interview with the LA Times’ Lance Pugmire, he expressed little concern.
“I didn’t reflect on it like that too much,” said Henderson.
“I knew it was possible a title shot wouldn’t come around again, but it wasn’t like I got my ass kicked, or that anything happened in the fans’ opinion that remotely reflected a real loss. It’s a loss on my record, but I didn’t consider it a huge setback.”
Saturday he fights Rashad Evans in the main event of UFC 161, live on PPV. Evans is coming off consecutive losses, to Jon Jones and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.
“I’m excited to get out there against a guy I can push the pace on,” said Henderson. “I’m completely healthy now.”
“I’m sure his training got remotivated by those losses, I’m sure he’ll be ready to go.”
“I still have goals. It’s not about the money. My goals are what motivate me and I believe I’m still capable of getting at my goals, but it all depends on how this fight goes.”
“The only thing I can control is what I do in the cage, and in there I intend to beat the hell out of him.”
Like Henderson, Evans did not seem overly concerned about a title shot.
“I’m not so much looking at getting a title shot,” said Evans. “For me, I just want to enjoy it along the way, having fun with each fight. Too much gets lost at wanting to get a title shot.
“Eventually, I beat enough people and I do it impressively enough, they’re going to want me to have a title shot.”
UFC president Dana White said even the loser could conceivably get a title shot.
“I mean, anything’s possible,” said White. “You could lose this fight and then go on an eight-fight win streak. But I would say, statistically, it’d be tough to come back from this loss.”