He might be a wrestler by trade, and just one of his 27 career wins have come by way of a submission technique, but Dan Henderson is black belt level in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, according to his coach.
“Henderson would give a lot of guys a hard time if he were to compete in at No-Gi tournaments. He really likes grappling – training on the bottom too. He’d tap out a lot of black belts,” longtime black belt Ricardo “Pantcho” Feliciano tells GracieMag.
Henderson agrees, and says that unlike many wrestlers he does not train in the Brazilian art reluctantly.
“Jiu-Jitsu to me is key, combined with wrestling. Wrestling is a great foundation with which to control a fight, but you need jiu jitsu or striking to finish the opponent,” he says.
However, he freely admits that his skills extend to the no-gi environment only. “I love grappling, but the truth is I never put on a gi. I’d be lost in the gi!”
At forty years old, Henderson is still competing at the highest levels. He took the Strikeforce light-heavyweight title from Rafael ‘Feijao’ Cavalcante in his last outing with a third-round knockout and his next fight is likely to be against former PRIDE heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko.