UFC lightweight champion Ben Henderson will defend his title against challenger Nate Diaz at the UFC on Fox 5 show on December 8. Diaz possesses a surprisingly effective high-volume striking arsenal along with an extremely slick submission game, making him a challenging opponent for anyone. Henderson, however, does not seem worried.
During a recent interview with MMAFighting, Henderson said,
“Every time a fighter does what they’re supposed to do, and improves and gets better every fight, I wouldn’t say the blueprint goes out the window, but it can be harder to execute the blueprint. Guys leave holes open in their game. Those holes get smaller if you do what you’re supposed to do and get better from fight to fight. Nate Diaz has shown a big improvement from his early years in the UFC and he’s made those holes a lot smaller, but I think the blueprint is definitely still out there on how to beat Nate. It’s not just, ‘Oh, we think you’ve got to do this. We think you’ve got to do this.’ No, if you want to beat him, you’ve got to do A, B, C, and D. And then you beat him. Period. You’re done.”
Perhaps almost as challenging to handle as Diaz’s punches and chokeholds during the fight is his verbal jousting during the leadup to it. Much like his older brother Nick, Diaz is known for his constant stream of trash talk and mind games. This has caused multiple fighters to abandon their game plans and throw caution to the wind during fights with Diaz in an attempt to shut up the mouthy young fighter – a mistake they then paid for dearly. Henderson, though, is not worried about this aspect of a matchup with Diaz either. He said,
“I am mentally preparing myself to deal with that. Nate and Nick, the whole scrap pack team, they do a good job of getting inside other fighters’ heads, whether it’s their body language, whether it’s their words or whatever the case may be. It works well for them. I’m definitely preparing myself mentally to face that, and when I do face that, act accordingly. I don’t intend on it affecting me. I don’t intend on going out there and being all mad, all of a sudden getting emotional. Hopefully, I’ll be able to take it in stride.”