Former Pride middleweight and light heavyweight champion Dan Henderson has reportedly signed with Strikeforce.
Henderson who had called the UFC home in recent years was unable to come to terms with organization. The negotiation process took a public turn for the worse when UFC President Dana White was very vocal about Henderson asking for money that would make him the highest paid fighter in the sport.
The report of the Strikeforce signing came from AOL Fanhouse. While the terms of the deal are unknown, Henderson will add credible depth to two of the organizations weight classes.
A debut date for the fighter is also unclear, but the potential fights for Henderson of plentiful. The signing of Henderson also gives the San Jose based organization and immediate title challenger for Gegard Mousasi. Mousasi is the Strikeforce light heavyweight champion and the owner of a 14 fight winning streak.
Update from Strikeforce
NEW YORK (Dec. 7, 2009)–Four-time mixed martial arts (MMA) world champion and two-time United States Olympic wrestler Dan Henderson will enter a new chapter in his legendary career after signing a multi-fight agreement with world championship MMA promotion STRIKEFORCE.
Henderson, the only fighter in history to simultaneously hold two titles in two different weight classes – the welterweight (183 pounds) and light heavyweight (205 pounds) crowns – with a major MMA promotion – PRIDE Fighting Championships – will enter the STRIKEFORCE cage after earning “Knockout of the Night” honors with his stunning second-round KO (3:20) over Michael “The Count” Bisping at UFC 100 in Las Vegas, Nevada on July 11, 2009.
“I’m very happy to be a part of STRIKEFORCE and their partnership with CBS and SHOWTIME®,” said the 39-year-old Henderson, who represented The United States in Greco-Roman wrestling in both the 1992 and 1996 Summer Olympics.
“STRIKEFORCE and its growing roster of world class talent will offer me many exciting fights and has the ability to bring many new fans from all around the world to mixed martial arts. I am grateful to (STRIKEFORCE Founder and CEO) Scott Coker for the opportunity to help make this happen and for treating me with the utmost respect throughout our negotiations.
“I’d also like to thank Dana (White) and the UFC for the opportunities they provided me and I wish them ongoing success. I’ll continue to watch their events and I hope they’ll tune in to my fights in STRIKEFORCE. After all, I’m a true fan of our fantastic sport and would love only to see MMA continue to grow.”
“We are excited to welcome Dan Henderson to STRIKEFORCE,” said Coker. “Dan is one of the world’s premiere fighters who has lived out an extraordinary career. We are looking forward to having him compete for us.”
At both Cal State Fullerton and Arizona State University, Henderson established himself as a force in collegiate wrestling, reaching the NCAA championships in 1993.
In 1997, Henderson entered the world of MMA, winning the Brazil Open, a four-man heavyweight tournament. One year later, he was the victor of the UFC 17 tournament, defeating both Allan Goes and Carlos Newton in the same night on May 15, 1998.
Following a stellar six plus year career with the now-defunct, Japan-based PRIDE Fighting Championships where he conquered a number of all-time greats including Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva, and Vitor Belfort, Henderson re-entered UFC. He was selected to serve as coach of Team USA on the ninth season of The Ultimate Fighter reality series, which premiered on Spike TV on April 1, 2009.