There is one fight Dan Henderson admits he doesn’t like his chances in -- and it’s one that involves the recent bans of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).
Henderson, 43, was approved to use TRT ahead of his fight against Mauricio Rua this weekend, which will headline a UFC Fight Night event in Natal, Brazil, but it’s likely the last such approval he’ll ever receive.
The Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission has banned future use of TRT, following the lead of the Nevada State Athletic Commission and the UFC.
Henderson (29-11), who has received use exemptions for TRT since 2007, isn’t in favor of the development -- but he isn’t willing to hire an attorney and combat it, either.
“It probably did cross my mind for a second, but it’s a battle that probably isn’t going to be won,” Henderson told ESPN.com. “At this point in my career, I’m not going to sit around and wait for things like that.
“It seems to me there could be a case out there [for an appeal]. I just think it was the easy way to appease some people instead of doing it the right way.”
The TRT conversation is a well-beaten dead horse. It’s almost over now.
UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta said he’s happy it’s banned for that very reason. The treatment had started to overshadow what the sport is really about -- the fights.
“Any time you have a gray area and you can turn it into black-and-white, it’s easier for everybody,” Fertitta told ESPN.com. “It was continuing to become more of a media issue than anything. It was taking away from the fights.
“If you’re in a situation as an athlete where your testosterone is getting low because you’re getting older and you don’t feel like you can compete, then you can’t compete. That’s just the bottom line.”
The afterlife of the TRT discussion in combat sports will be focused on how those who were on it can adjust. Henderson, who signed a six-fight deal with the UFC earlier this year, should have an idea of how his body will respond.
Last year, he stopped taking TRT for a fight against Rashad Evans at UFC 161 in June when it appeared the Manitoba Combative Sports Commission overseeing the event wouldn’t approve his request.
Henderson, who has always said he takes very low dosages of testosterone to reach normal levels, says doing so wasn’t a huge deal and had no effect on his performance (he lost a three-round fight via split decision).
The former Pride and Strikeforce champion suspects other TRT users utilized the treatment differently than he did. In his previous fight in November, Henderson suffered the first knockout loss of his career to Vitor Belfort, who was also on TRT.
“I’m sure he wasn’t quite abiding by the rules,” Henderson said. “I think that’s probably a good reason why he was pulled out of his title fight (against Chris Weidman at UFC 174). I’d say it was for that very reason.
“No advance notice drug testing would be the best way to handle all the problems. If you grab somebody and they don’t know when they’re going to be tested, they’ll think twice about abusing things.”
As for the fight in front of him, Henderson understands it's being classified as mostly a "fun fight." He and "Shogun" produced one of the most memorable fights in UFC history when they met in a five-round class at UFC 139 in November 2011. Henderson won the fight via unanimous decision.
Although he and Rua have gone a combined 2-5 since, Henderson sees Sunday's main event as more than just a fun fight between two veterans.
"It'd be tough to duplicate how exciting the first one was but the potential is there for that," Henderson said. "I think a solid win over Shogun is always impressive. It can't hurt. We'll see what happens."