MMA legend Dan Henderson on why walking away is hard

LOS ANGELES — After a lifetime spent in combat sports, achieving Olympic glory as a wrestler and multiple world championships as an MMA fighter, 45 year-old Dan Henderson has had trouble walking away from competition. Still, the legendary fighter says he’s stuck around for so long simply because he loves fighting and the cash that comes with it.

“It’s never been an identity thing. Obviously, the money helps. I love doing this, though, and I love getting paid to do it,” he told FOX Sports after his dramatic come-from-behind victory at UFC 199.

“For me, along the way, it’s been more about the challenge. Every opponent I get, it’s a different challenge.

As I’ve gotten older, it’s a different type of challenge. I’m kind of challenging myself with my opponent and time as well. For a while I’ve been the oldest guy in the UFC.”
After beating Hector Lombard Saturday night, Henderson took the mic in the ring and said that the victory might by his swan song. To be sure, no one could imagine a better ending than that for his career.

As a gutsy power puncher, Henderson still feels the temptation to continue fighting because he knows that all he needs is one strike to beat anyone on any given night. However, “Hendo” says he’s at peace with his career and sounded ready to move-on.

“I feel good. I feel like I can compete with the top guys. It’s more about things I want to do in life and spending time with the kids. I’ve managed to do that just fine, along the way, but I’m being close to being ready to be done and being OK with it,” he continued.

“I’ve been OK with it for a while. If I look back at what I’ve done, I’m completely OK with it and feel good about myself as well. But we’ll see. I’m not making any decisions now. I’m just going to wait and see what happens and see what my options are.”