Dan Henderson is a former amateur wrestler and retired professional mixed martial artist who is widely regarded as one of the combat sport’s greatest fighters of all time. During his time, Henderson, who was popularly known as Hendo, dominated all the fighting weight classes and was the first mixed martial artist to hold two titles in two different weight classes at the same time.
Before moving onto MMA fighting, Henderson was lauded for his achievements in wrestling which have earned him inductions to the California Wrestling Hall of Fame and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum among many other honors.
Dan Henderson was born Daniel Jeffery Henderson on August 24, 1970, in Downey, an urban settlement located southeast of Los Angeles, California. While growing up, his family moved to Apple Valley, also in California, where he attended Victor Valley High School.
Henderson’s competitive spirit was noticed by his parents at a young age as he and his brother were said to have always gotten into skirmishes. This prompted them to encourage their boys to channel their energy into something productive by joining the school’s wrestling team where their father was an assistant coach.
Dan Henderson competed in freestyle wrestling but later concentrated on Greco-Roman wrestling where he excelled. In 1987, he was part of the school team that was crowned state champions in the California State Championships, having been placed second as an individual competitor. The following year, his school retained the state title but Henderson himself was placed fifth as an individual competitor. That disappointment turned out to be the motivation he needed to win national crowns in both freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling at the National Junior Championships.
After completing high school, Henderson attended California State University Fullerton and then Arizona State University where he continued wrestling. He was the university national champion in Greco-Roman wrestling in 1991, 1993 and 1994, which gave him the opportunity to represent the United States at the 1992 and 1996 Olympic games as well as in the Pan American and World wrestling championships.
By 1997, Dan Henderson began dabbling in mixed martial arts as he continued to wrestle. He found early success as he was crowned champion in the first ever tournament he joined, the Brazil Open Lightweight Tournament. Less than a year later, he won his second tournament; UFC 17, where he famously fought with a broken jaw. In 1999, Henderson won his third tournament, the Rings: King of Kings tournament and was finally regarded as a force in the sport.
Following those successes and his failure to qualify for the 2000 Olympics and the 2001 world championships, Henderson made up his mind to fully focus on an MMA career which turned out to be the best decision he ever made. Throughout his career, he played a total of 47 matches, winning 32 and losing 15.
Dan Henderson’s most notable MMA fights were against Kazuo Misaki, the first fighter under 205 pounds who he lost to, Quinton Rampage Jackson at UFC 75, Anderson Silva at UFC 82, Michael Bisping at UFC 100 where Henderson became the first man to knock Bisping out, and then his two fights against Mauricio Rua at UFC 139, which has been described as the greatest fight in UFC history and has been inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame, and then at UFC Fight Night 38.
Dan Henderson’s Net Worth
Having fought at the highest level in mixed martial arts, Dan Henderson has surely made himself a wealthy man. Add that to his other business endeavors which includes owning an MMA training camp, an athletic fitness center, and a fight club, it is no surprise that Henderson has a reported net worth of around $6 million.
Family – Wife Rachel Malter and Daughters
Dan Henderson is married to his longtime girlfriend Rachel Malter. He proposed to her at the Henderson Family/Team Annual Pig Roast in 2014. They exchanged vows within an hour of him getting down on his knees to ask for her hand in marriage, as Henderson had already bought her a dress as well as had an officiating minister on standby.
Henderson has three children two of which are from previous relationships. They are daughters Sierra and Danielle, and son Reese Henderson.
Height, Weight and Other Facts
Birth Name: Daniel Jeffery Henderson
Date of Birth: August 24, 1970
Place of Birth: Downey, California, U.S.A
Height: 5 feet 11 inches (180 cm)
Weight: 84 kg (185 lbs.)
Profession(s): Wrestler, Mixed Martial Artist