Like an old warrior preparing to go out on his shield, Dan Henderson is ready to go off to battle for what very well could be one last time. The event: UFC Fight Night 68, this coming Saturday from New Orleans. The opponent: Tim Boetsch, a rugged, durable fighter once thought to be a contender, and hungry to reclaim that notion, to reignite it in the eyes of fans.

He’s a formidable foe, but a beatable one for a fighter with the accolades, skill, and experience of Hendo. Yet should he fall, it will almost certainly be for the last time.

This would be about the point where one would bring up records, and fight stats, if one were so inclined. Yet this fight isn’t about who has defeated whom lately, or who is on the better run. It is about, frankly, who has more to give; who is willing to lay it all out there in the cage Saturday night. You might think that’s all any fight is about, but that’s not quite the case: there’s always strategizing, game planning, and all sorts of other little quirks. For Hendo this Saturday, however, it will all be about heart, and what’s left in the tank.

Hendo has, of course, won gold, everywhere but the UFC. You’d have to think that, even with a win, any hopes of a title shot are long gone. Those died with the injury leading up to his proposed fight with Jon Jones back in 2012, at the much maligned then cancelled UFC 151. They certainly died when his drop to middleweight didn’t go as planned.

Yet Henderson is a fighter, and power is the last thing to go, making his H-bomb as deadly as ever. And he’d very much like to go out with a win — though a win over Boetsch means he’ll likely want to fight again. Hey, Shamrock’s doing it at 51, right?

Can Hendo win at UFC Fight Night 68? Of course. And he has more than just a puncher’s chance — if he brings the right game plan. Here are some keys to victory for Dan Henderson Saturday.

Take The Fight To The Mat

Hendo’s a wrestler by trade, though, like so many others, he has fallen in love with the power of his hands, especially the dreaded H-bomb, and getting that highlight reel finish. Yet in ignoring what was once his bread and butter, he has played into other’s hands. Against Tim Boetsch, Hendo needs to avoid such fallacy. Boetsch has zero wins by way of submission in his UFC career, and just three as a pro (one of which was a submission to strikes), so he’s not going to be a huge threat to Hendo from his back. Henderson needs to take him there and keep him there.

Stay Out Of Range

Dan Henderson’s chin served him well throughout his career, but at 44, it may have begun to fail him. Even in his lone recent win, in his rematch with Shogun Rua, Hendo was wobbled, hurt bad — but his H-bomb saved the day for him there. Compare that to his fight against Gegard Mousasi, where he was caught early. Either way, if he’s caught against Boetsch, who hits hard himself, it could be a short night. Hendo needs to fight smart.

Keep That H-Bomb Ready

As much as you can criticize him for becoming overly reliant on it, the fact is that Hendo’s right hand is an equalizer. He’ll need it at the ready, but he needs to avoid over-committing. The last thing he wants is to eat a hard counter-punch or to put himself out of position. So, follow keys one and two, and have three at the ready.

In that combination, Hendo could very well be successful Saturday night. If he’s not, we may see the last of the old guard go out on his shield.

About The Author

Senior Staff Writer

Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.