Dan HendersonUFC light heavyweight Lyoto Machida has looked sharp in nearly all of his fights, only falling to men who have worn the company’s championship as he himself did in 2009. While UFC 157 opponent Dan Henderson has yet to lay claim to a UFC belt, Machida’s not mistaking the lack of accomplishment for some sort of weakness. In fact, to hear “The Dragon” discuss Henderson, it’s clear he’s entering the bout with the understanding he’s in for an exceptionally tough task in beating the seasoned veteran.

“I always give my best in the fight, thinking I can achieve my goal which is to finish the fight ahead of time either by knockout or submission. But I’m not worried that Dan Henderson has never been knocked out. I know he’s a tough guy who deserves respect,” explained Machida to TATAME, saying he’s prepared to take whatever route is necessary to achieve victory. “I’m going to do my best.”

Even if Henderson can’t claim the distinction of being a UFC champ, he wore titles in PRIDE and Strikeforce. Likewise, he defeated a number of fierce foes in both organizations such as Wanderlei Silva, Vitor Belfort, and Fedor Emelianenko. As such, Machida recognizes Henderson’s greatness and is excited about the prospect of testing himself against a legitimate legend.

“He’s a tough guy who has several belts of various organizations. He’s also a fighter who comes to fight, all the time. He’s a great champion,” Machida concluded on Henderson.

The two are set to face off in co-headlining action at the February 23 event. Machida is coming off a knockout win over Ryan Bader entering the bout, while Henderson has strung together a quartet of consecutive victories but hasn’t fought since November 2011.