Henderson was scheduled to challenge then-light heavyweight champion Jones in the UFC 151 headliner in September 2012, but the former two-division PRIDE champion withdrew just nine days out after tearing his MCL.
Chael Sonnen offered to step in on short notice, but Jones declined, causing the entire event to be canceled.
“That’s the one fight I wish I would’ve had that I never had,” Henderson told ESPN of Jones. “I was probably the most prepared for that fight that I’ve ever been. Just kind of blew my knee out a little bit before the fight. It happened about three, three-and-a-half weeks before the fight when I hurt my knee.
“Still had the idea that I was going to be able to fight. It would’ve been tough, but I would’ve gotten it done. My team kind of talked some sense into me. It just wasn’t a smart idea. That’s the only fight I’ve ever pulled out of after a 20-year career. So I was kind of bummed.”
After that, Henderson never got a second chance at Jones, but the heavy-hitting legend is confident he would’ve been the one to dethrone the current UFC heavyweight champion.
“I was 100 percent certain I was going to beat the f*ck out of him,” Henderson said. “I absolutely would have beat him up in my mind. I was so prepared, not just physically prepared but tactically, my game plan, everything. And being used to longer guys, I just was so ready, and I think all my training partners would attest to that.”
Henderson did get to compete against Jones years later – but in a grappling match. Jones submitted Henderson with an arm-triangle choke at Submission Underground 2 in 2016.