No more "Mr. Nice Guy."
That's the message Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight Champion Ben Henderson looks to convey when he attempts to defend his title for the second time in a bout against Nate Diaz at UFC on FOX 5, which is scheduled to go down in Seattle, Wash. on Dec. 8, 2012.
Diaz should present "Smooth" with plenty of problems, both with his unorthodox boxing and his excellent ground game.
Henderson is aware of the physical challenges that his opponent brings to the table, but humorously enough, it's Diaz's trash talking that has him currently preoccupied:
From his conversation with Inside MMA:
"We're definitely trying to prepare for his physical tools, his long reach, his boxing style that he has. But, the biggest thing we've had trouble with, to be honest, is we've been having my teammates talking trash inside the Octagon, and have me stay calm and not be worked up. I was having a hard time with that. When someone talks trash to me, I wanna talk trash back. When they get emotional, I get emotional back to them. So, I've been working on staying calm, collected and still do my technique and not fall into his game. I gotta do a little more work on that, though.
I just got done sparring, and my training partners, Efrain Escudero and Joe Riggs, were told by my coaches to talk crap and to say not very nice things to me. I don't like it. I don't like it when people say not very nice things to me. But, yeah, they're told to talk crap to me, and I'm suppose to not get lured into that game and do something I'm not supposed to do.I'm supposed to stay calm and collected and implement my game plan, still. I have been having a hard time with that, but hopefully, we get that taken care of, and come fight night, I won't allow any of that trash talking to get into my head and affect my game."
Trash talk aside, Henderson feels (and most fans agree) that the showdown with Diaz should shape up to be a very entertaining fight, and a great way to help finish off the year.
Henderson sees it being a contest between two very evenly matched athletes:
"I really think this is going to be a case of a true MMA fight. Nate has great stand up, great boxing, but his ground game is sometimes overshadowed by how good he is standing up -- how good is boxing skills are. But, he's well-rounded. He has good skills standing up and on the ground. I like to think I'm pretty skilled, myself. I'm not too bad standing or on the ground. I think you're gonna see a little bit of that. You're see us standing up, banging away. You're see us on the ground, getting after it, as well."
Who takes it?
For more information on UFC on FOX 5: "Henderson vs. Diaz," click here.