Ben Henderson is going to have his hands full when he defends his UFC lightweight title against Nate Diaz at UFC on Fox this December. Diaz's improvement since the earliest days of his career can't be overlooked, but Henderson told MMA Fighting that the same holes are still there to be exploited.
From the article:
"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," Henderson steadily explains. "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."
And how does Henderson plan to handle the taunting and head games of the challenger?
"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."
Henderson finishes his thought with another smile as he climbs down the dugout stairs and back into his seat, shaking a few more hands along the way. "Hopefully, I'll be able to take it in stride."