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Alves: Henderson fight first in years against someone 'my size'

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Thiago Alves doesn't think Benson Henderson will be able to handle his explosiveness, also is glad he will be able to use his elbows and knees again.

Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Thiago Alves isn't moving down to lightweight quite yet. First he's got to fight former 155 lb champion Benson Henderson, in Korea, at welterweight. But the Brazilian feels his opponent won't have what it takes to deal with his explosiveness. Furthermore, "Pitbull" hopes that he will not have to worry about a size disadvantage for the first time in a long time in his career.

The physical side of the game being equal, Alves thinks he may have a stoppage win coming; he's looking to knock Henderson out in the third round.

"He's a complete guy, I think he's a better grappler than a striker." He told Combate. "But I'm better than him anywhere. I'm too explosive and I'll be able to neutralize his game and knock him out. It has been years since I fought a guy who was my size and had my reach. I'll be able to use my knees and elbows. My arsenal will be completely different for this fight. I will knock him out in the third round. I want to spend the first two teaching the Korean crowd a lesson, right? Then get back home. It won't last five rounds - I promise, on the record."

The reason Alves is seems so interested in Henderson's size? He feels like his opponents have been getting bigger over the years, which is one of the main reasons he claims this will be his last fight at welterweight before starting a title run in the 155 division.

"Guys are getting too tall in my division. Between 2007 and 2011 I was considered big; now, they are much taller, they can be 6'3" or 6'2". I'm giving my opponents too many weapons at 170 pounds because I can't use my knees or my elbows. I have to close the distance too much in order to hit them and I don't like that. In the lightweight division, guys are about my size and I will have a lot of strength, speed and pressure. I plan to fight Henderson, the have two lightweight fights in 2016 and then fight for the title by the end of the year and get the belt. This fight will already be a good introduction, since I'm going to lightweight soon, because he's moving up while I'm moving down. It will be good to see how they move. Strength and speed won't be a problem. I want to see how they deal with my strength and my power."

Thiago Alves and Benson Henderson will headline the UFC's first show in South Korea, at UFC Fight Night 79, which goes down in November 28.