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Monday, 10/29/2012, 10:07 am

Exclusive: Benson Henderson on Nate Diaz, UFC on Fox 5 & Fighting On the Same Card as BJ Penn

UFC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson has taken the UFC lightweight division by storm since the WEC merger at the end of 2010. He may have lost the WEC Lightweight Championship to Anthony Pettis in the final fight in the organizations history, but you can’t argue with who has been more successful in the two and half years since that fight took place.

A quiet man who lets his fighting do his talking, Henderson has improved with each and every fight. The UFC threw him right into the fire as he faced BJJ Blackbelt Mark Bocek at UFC 129. Henderson made quite a statement against the veteran and won by unanimous decision. From there he faced and defeated Jim Miller at UFC Live : Hardy vs. Lytle in August of 2011, ending the New Jersey native’s seven fight win streak.

Henderson would earn his crack at Frankie Edgar and the 155lb. Title by defeating Clay Guida at UFC on Fox 1 last November. He has subsequently defeated Edgar twice and will now face Nate Diaz at UFC on Fox 5 in December in his second title defense. This match-up has fans everywhere salivating because these two men bring it each and every time out. Henderson expects nothing but the best Diaz and is excited about giving the fans exactly what they are looking for.

“The fight with Nate should be a great fight, he’s a great competitor,” Henderson told BJPenn.Com Radio. “He always brings it, he’s going to walk forward and I’m going to walk forward and we’ll see who is better. It’ll be nice to face someone who is not super elusive and hard to get a hold of. We’ll have some good exchanges, he’s definitely a fighters’ fighter. It’ll be a good scrap, I’m real excited for it. I’m not quite in training camp yet, my camps are a little shorter as I only run a five week training camp. When I’m not in training, I’m still in the gym three or four times a day.”

Diaz offers Henderson a stiff test no matter where the fight winds up. Much like his older brother Nick, the younger Diaz utilizes high volume punching, pushes a frenetic pace and has a solid submission game. In his last fight, Diaz became the first man to finish the always tough Jim Miller with a second round guillotine choke. That win is what earned him the shot against Henderson.

“I would say he’ll be the most dangerous fighter I’ve faced for sure,” Henderson admitted. “I’ve seen him at some jiu-jitsu tournaments in California and we also competed at The World Jiu-Jitsu tournament at the same time. He was one weight class above me, I competed at 167lbs. and he was in the 181lb. division. We were both brown belts back then and he’s a black belt now. I have to watch him on the ground, he’s very dangerous off of his back. His jiu-jitsu is very good, he’s also dangerous from top position as well. You could be winning every round and make one small mistake and he’ll capitalize on it.”

Before defeating Miller at UFC on Fox 2, Diaz ended Donald Cerrone’s six fight win streak at UFC 141 via unanimous decision. That was his second fight back at 155 after going 2-2 as a welterweight. Before the Cerrone fight the UFC paired him up with Takanori Gomi at UFC 135 and Diaz decimated the former Pride champion sending a message to all the UFC lightweights that he was back where he belonged. Diaz has not only displayed an improved skillset since his return to 155, he also shown an incredible amount of self-confidence and trust in his abilities.

“To be honest I think he’s gotten better everywhere, he’s really worked on his game,” offered the man they call Smooth. “He was competitive as a welterweight, but I think he knew he wasn’t going to make a title run in that division. He was able to use the time at 170 to work on his game and not worry about his place in the rankings. He was able to go out there, have some fun, try some new things and he has improved tremendously. He’s also grown mentally and matured as a MMA fighter.”

UFC on Fox 5 may be the most stacked card of the year. On top of the lightweight title bout the UFC has added three great fights to the main card including Alexander Gustafsson vs. Shogun Rua and Matt Brown vs. Mike Swick. The other match-up pitting BJ Penn against Rory MacDonald has Henderson very excited. He has been a fan of Penn’s for a long time and is psyched to be on the same card with the former two-division UFC champion. Henderson gave us a unique perspective on the fight as both a fan and a fighter.

“I am so excited to be fighting on the same card as BJ Penn,” said an excited Henderson. “That has been a dream of mine for quite some time. Here I am about to compete on the same night as him, it truly is an honor. This is such an awesome opportunity for me. Rory has a longer reach, but I think BJ will do better when they are standing up. I think Rory will use the blueprint set by GSP and that will be to try and keep BJ up against the cage, hold him and wear him down. I see BJ moving and using angles and not allowing Rory to pin him up against the cage. It all comes down to who can implement their game plan. BJ is a legend, he’s great and me personally I would never bet against him.”

Gustafsson has been anointed by many as the fighter who has the best opportunity to beat current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones. Rua will be by far his toughest opponent and Dana White has said the winner of this fight could face the winner of the Jones-Chael Sonnen bout scheduled for April. This is going to be a fight that the fans and other fighters will be able to enjoy.

“Shogun is a warrior, he’s proven it time and time again, there’s no ifs ands or buts about it,” Henderson said. “There’s no questioning his heart, he’ll always be there, he’ll always be ready to go. Gustafsson is tough and he’s up and coming, This will be his toughest fight yet and a lot of times nerves can get in the way, we’ll see how he handles it. I give it to Shogun, he’s got a lot of experience having been in a ton of big fights. This isn’t Shogun’s biggest fight, will Alexander be able to handle the added exposure and all of the media attention that comes along with it.”


29 Responses to “Exclusive: Benson Henderson on Nate Diaz, UFC on Fox 5 & Fighting On the Same Card as BJ Penn”

  1. TheTude says:

    Bendo is a smart dude, Great fighter, gonna be cheering for him for sure. Nate Diaz is an asshole but also an amazing fighter, that goes for his brother too, i cant count him out, this fight is going to be a slobber knocker

  2. joe says:

    I feel bad for Penn, Rory is going to demolish this has-been.Too bad Penn is going to go home to his children looking like a mess….again.

    • TheTude says:

      dude you know where your at? get the hell off this website. If that is your opinion of Penn, nobdy wants to hear it. Penn is a legend and deserves respect and is going to teach Rory what true greatness is. Rory looks like a roided out 16 year old, Prrobably because he has been on PEDs since then. Stunted his testosterone production and replaced it with unnatural muscle.

    • AVO says:

      dude even if rory does beat bj which im not saying he is, hes going to win by lay n pray and bj is going to look fine and not like he was even in a fight in fact people who do lay n pray on bj usually look worse at the end of the match

      • Sam says:

        BJ Penn is one of my favorite fighters ever. I also like Rory, you don’t have to hate one or the other. I’m definitely rooting for Penn, but I think Rory is tougher than all of you seem to know. Lay and pray? Rory doesn’t lay and pray. He gets on top and destroys people with punches. At least be honest with yourself.

    • EP says:

      shut up you tool bag … maybe you watch the sport a little more. Rory has never in his entire mma career fought a Top 10 WW, now he is fighting an mma Legend and one of the GOAT. Some of you rory fans are just f*cking retarded. You have no idea whats going to happen to Rory, it will be one of the devastating finishes you have ever seen. Penn is going to dismantle this roid headed loser. He is knows his whole hold up against the cage and lay and pray gameplan , he is coming in there, in shape, motivated, pumped, and ready to go to war. he is going to teach this no name punk a lesson. i hope some of u losers come back on this website Dec 8th after that fight, would love to see what you say then. Until then get the f**k out of here and go on gsp or rory website Pikers.

    • Thom says:

      joe, you’re a fag. please leave this site and stop talking about BJ and his kids.

    • Fortyb4five says:

      Bj will own that steroid abusing f@ggot…BJ isthe goat son better recognize.

    • fuck off joe bj is more than a legend and he aint going nowhere…i challenge you to a fight sir,ill smash those words down your mouth

  3. BF says:

    Rory by “lay and pray?” The only victory Rory has by decision is Nate Diaz…… Rory is violent and viscious. Have you even watched him fight? I truly hope Baby Jay sends this kid down the rankings, but to even associate Rory with the “Lay and pray” style is such horseshit. That kid is violent.
    – This fight isn’t a great style match up for BJ, but it should make for an amazing fight. Penn is tough as nails with leather skin and Rory brings it. I hope Penn can pull of a Condit and drop him in the 3rd. I don’t want a quick fight, I’d love a 12-15 min war, where nobody really loses stock, but BJ wins.

  4. EP says:

    i have seen every one of rorys fights in WEC and UFC… he beat Nate Diaz when Nate was a WW, big deal. He got KO’d by Condit who at that time wasnt even a top 10 WW yet. Aside from those 2 fights he has never fought anybody worth mentioning… plus the kid is a punk and roid head. Penn is going to destroy this kid. Its not even up for discussion. There is NO WAY Penn loses this fight. Not a chance in hell. Reality check coming for Rory. BIG TIME. Learn to #RepsectLegends WAR PENN!

    • MooreUSMC says:

      Penn is as awesome as you say he is for sure. But you are every bit as dumb as you sound. Rory accepts random blood tests by one of the best testing agencies in the US and you still call him Roidy? You are a fanboy get off Bjs nuts I’m here he doesn’t want you there. Also Lay and Pray is a horrible analysis of McDonalds style. Every time penn fights I pick him as my favorite. If penn loses I’m going to say oh well shit happens he is still the greatest pure fighter to fight period. But what will an idiot like you say? Plz shut up and don’t ever breed.

  5. Ghost of evan tanner says:

    Wow.Thats a bold statement.

  6. blob says:

    dude nick diaz destroyed bj, not that hard anymore..GO RORY!!

    • EP says:

      oh i guess you missed the fight bro … and i am a huge fan of both Nick Diaz and BJ Penn but for anyone to say Nick Diaz destroyed BJ is an idiot or has no clue about the sport. First off, BJ won Round 1… second of all, he stood and traded with Diaz in pocket all fight, and third, did you see Diaz’s face after the fight???? yeah maybe not? or maybe your just a hater ??? i dont know or care .. but at least state the facts.. did Nick win, yes. Did he destroy BJ, not at all. Also Nick said BJ was hardest puncher he ever faced as well as fighters like Matt Hughes, Sean Sherk, Diego Sanchez… said BJ hits harder than any other fighter they faced… all notable fighters. Rory has nothing to offer BJ, Standing up, Penn will annihilate him, on ground he will sub him, … Rory bitch ass is gonna get a beatdown. All you haters will be crying like little babies come Dec 8th!

  7. John M says:

    Bendo will beat Diaz, Bendo keepin his title for a long time.

  8. hahaha says:

    Penn is obviously fighting to pay the bills. Stepping stone for Rory. Easy fight. Washed up legend way over his head. Rory by TKO after round 3 (Penn will quit/giveup in his corner exactly like he did with the GSP fight).

  9. JP says:

    Annnyywayys back to Bendo vs Diaz.

    @someguy Henderson won the first fight no doubt so he won the belt. Now the rematch was a bit clser but I still saw henderson winning.

    I think Bendo will be to big and strong for diaz. Not to mention Hendersons sub defense is amazing

  10. Josiah says:

    -ben’s hair will be squeezed out of his head
    -rory will double leg the ref, unaware that he got KO’d

  11. Bjj BB says:

    @joe, hows about we meet up so i can open hand b-itch slap you f-aggot!!

  12. Bjj BB says:

    @hahaha, u are a f-ucking dumbass who just started watching this sport, every1 knows that bj penn comes from a family that always has money, he dont fight for money he fights for the love of the sport! And my question for you is the same one i have for joe. Go order or buy the 1st ufc and pride dvd’s so you can educate yourself and not come on a bjpenn web site and talk shiit about a legend who help build the sport and made the 155 pound class famous and opened the doors to the lighter classes we have now. And when penn knocks out the over rated chump id love to see you back on here talking about how penn got lucky. i bet you got a poster of rory in yo room you f-ucking fruit!!

  13. GUGU says:


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