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Tag: Ben Henderson

Much Ado About Not That Much: Nate Diaz’s Middle Finger Incites Overblown Criticism


(Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here, this is the War Room!” Screenshot via Deadspin/ Tim Burke)

By Elias Cepeda

If you’re anything like me, there were a couple times during Saturday’s UFC on Fox telecast where you angrily shouted at the television. I wasn’t upset at a favorite fighter getting beaten or even vainly yelling out instructions per the common ridiculous spectator custom.

No, I, and perhaps you as well, got upset when Fox repeatedly cut away from the action to show a long overhead shot of an empty UFC Octagon. As Maggie Hendricks at Yahoo! Sports confirmed, those cut-aways were not technical goof ups. ”[Nate] Diaz threw up the middle finger at his opponent, and the network cut away instead of risking a fine from the Federal Communications Commission,” Hendricks wrote on her CageWriter blog.

One of the gestures came while Diaz was working for a heel-hook on Benson Henderson, who was sitting in a near full-split position on the canvas. The champion was unfazed by Diaz’s gestures as he had prepared for the Stockton native’s tactics, both physical and psychological.

“It’s something I actually had a little bit of a hard time with, but once my training partners got together, they all started talking crap to me in the middle of sparring and I’d get angry,” Henderson revealed on Fuel TV’s post fight show. “They helped control it and I did a pretty good job of being very focused and not letting that affect my emotional state in the middle of the fight.”

So, what’s all the fuss been about on the net since then? On Yahoo’s front page, Hendricks’s story was linked to with the headline, “Fighter’s tasteless moves rattle television broadcast.” Yes, the network that has brought us Cops, Temptation Island and The Simple Life was “rattled” and nearly brought to its sweet, innocent knees by Nate Diaz‘s tactical posturing during his fight.

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UFC on Fox 5 Aftermath: Toothpickgate, A Changing of the Guard and Glorious, Glorious Violence


Ben Henderson’s Glorious Toothpick of Absolute Victory? Props: BloodyElbow.

When it comes to UFC on Fox 5, it’s hard to know whether to start with the top or the bottom. Ben Henderson’s dismantling of Nate Diaz was a statement performance in a division where title fights have been been subjected to controversy and questionable decisions for the past two years. (Frankie Edgar’s KO of Gray Maynard notwithstanding.) And he did this with a toothpick in his mouth the entire time! No, that’s not necessarily legal, but it makes the performance even more incredible. But on the other hand, this was probably the best, most violent preliminary card in recent memory, highlighted with KOs from Yves Edwards and Daron Cruickshank. And that’s not even touching the rest of the main card. We have much to discuss, Potato Nation.

So let’s start with the top. Ben Henderson, toothpick and all, dominated Nate Diaz. He kicked the legs out from under him, tossed him into the fence at will, and when they engaged on the ground, it was on Henderson’s terms. Diaz was able to maneuver into position for leg lock attempts in the third round, but beyond that he didn’t have much to offer Henderson. (Humorously, during one of those exchanges, Diaz raised his fist to Henderson’s face, and the camera immediately cut to a crowd shot. Yeah, wonder why…) Diaz never gave up trying, to his credit, but Henderson demonstrated that he was clearly the superior fighter of the two. Henderson was able to drop Diaz on multiple occasions, and while he was able to finish the Stockton fighter, he was able to damage him to the degree that even Diaz conceded victory when the final bell sounded. Henderson came out with a smart gameplan and executed it in violent fashion. Whoever challenges for the title next will have a serious issue on their hands, because with Frankie Edgar gone, Henderson finally looks secure on his throne.

The rest of the main card undoubtedly saw a – pardon the phrase – changing of the guard last night. Alexander Gustafsson was able to bloody and batter Mauricio “Shogun” Rua en route to a clear cut decision. Shogun came out strong, and while none of the judges saw fit to give him the first round, some observers (myself included) did. He used leg kicks, connected with the heaviest shots, and even though he got taken down, was easily able to avoid damage and return to his feet. However, rounds two and three weren’t up for debate. As Shogun tired, he began to throw desperate, flailing strikes which Gustafsson easily evaded. The Swede was content peppering Shogun from outside, dominating the clinch exchanges, and taking Shogun down at will throughout the latter rounds. It wasn’t the most impressive performance, and may not land him a title shot, but it’s easily his most significant victory in the UFC. For Shogun, it’s a sad day when a once great fighter can barely fight 15 minutes. He’s got a couple of fights left in him, but not much more.

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UFC on FOX: Henderson vs. Diaz — Main Card Results & Commentary


(Sometimes I look at Nate Diaz and think, “y’know, there’s a guy who probably hasn’t heard the Good News about Jesus Christ.” / Photo via CombatLifestyle. For more photos from this set, click here.)

Old legends and young lions. Guys with angel wings on their backs and guys with middle fingers in your face. Hot-headed blood lickers, and reasonable folks who understand the health risks of such behavior. It’s UFC on FOX 5 — a card so good that you don’t even need lazy storylines to sell it.

On the menu tonight: Benson Henderson looks for his second lightweight title defense against Nate Diaz, Alexander Gustafsson makes his case for #1 light-heavyweigght contendership against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, and BJ Penn will go to the death — or pretty damn close — against Rory MacDonald. Plus, a MySpace grudge-match nearly eight years in the making!

Running our “Henderson vs. Diaz” liveblog is New Jersey Martial Arts Hall of Fame inductee Jim Genia (congrats Jim!), who will be throwin’ down live results from the FOX main card after the jump beginning at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT. Refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest, and toss your own thoughts and observations in the comments section.

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Swing By CagePotato at 7 p.m. EST for Live Coverage of the ‘UFC on FOX 5′ Weigh-Ins [UPDATED w/RESULTS]


(Oh yeah, they’ll be plenty of this. And we definitely don’t mean the “thoughts” part.) 

With a lineup that would challenge any UFC pay-per-view event in recent memory, UFC on FOX 5: Henderson vs. Diaz will come storming into your living rooms tomorrow night at 8 p.m. EST. You know what that means for tonight — some dudes are going to mean mug and possibly shove some other dudes that hopefully weigh-in at the same weight as the first dudes. Confused? Then join us after the jump and we’ll sort this all out for you, and make sure to swing by tomorrow at 8 p.m. to catch our liveblog of all the action!

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‘UFC on FOX 5: Henderson vs. Diaz’ Preview: Breaking Down the Top Three Fights


(Staredowns from yesterday’s press conference, via MMAFighting. BJ is in amped-up savage-mode, and Bendo is just *daring* Diaz to pull some of his crazy shit again.)

By George Shunick

UFC on Fox 5 is one of the most stacked cards of the entire year, and it’s free on network television. It contains a pseudo-grudge match between the only man in UFC  history to hold the lightweight and welterweight titles, and a rising star who trains with his greatest rival. The co-main event sees a PRIDE legend and one-time UFC champ looking to reclaim his former glory in yet another epic war against a rising contender from a burgeoning MMA scene in Scandanavia. And in the main event, you have the two best lightweights in the world (besides Frankie Edgar) going head to head in the toughest division in the UFC. What more could you ask for?

Well, if the answer to that rhetorical question was “the most brilliant predictions/pre-fight analysis column ever,” then you are in luck, my friend! And because this card is so stacked, there will be not one, not two, not three, but…actually no, there will be three predictions. (Sorry Mike Swick and Matt Brown.) Logophobes, you’ve been warned.

The first of the big three fights on the card is the highly anticipated matchup between a returning BJ Penn and wunderkind Rory MacDonald. Penn’s seeking to reinforce his legacy as one of the best ever in the sport, and Rory’s been giving him even more motivation recently, claiming he’s coming to “hurt [Penn]” who he believes is “fighting for the wrong reasons.” Bold words, but MacDonald’s the type of fighter who’s capable of backing them up. He’s only lost once in his career — a TKO loss to Carlos Condit, in which he won the first two rounds before getting stopped in the waning seconds of the final round. But he holds wins over Nate Diaz and Mike Pyle, and aside from the former, all of MacDonald’s victories have come by stoppage.

It should be noted, though, that aside from Condit, Penn is a stronger fighter at this weight than any of the other fighters mentioned. He presents a greater knockout threat than any of them, has better wrestling, and has one of, if not the, best top games of any grappler in the UFC. However, Penn has historically been weak in the cardio department, particularly at welterweight. Even though he looks to be in excellent shape, he’s still carrying more weight than usual, and he’ll be forced to carry MacDonald’s weight as well. While Penn’s revamped his training camp, it’s unlikely he’ll have been able to fix a career-long deficiency, particularly after returning from “retirement.”

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[VIDEOS] Frankie Edgar, Gray Maynard, Donald Cerrone, + More Make Their Picks for Ben Henderson vs. Nate Diaz

Can you guys imagine what the MMA landscape will be like if Nate Diaz is able to defeat Ben Henderson on Saturday, thus becoming the lightweight champion? For starters, this article will be the first and last time you ever see the word “thus” in a sentence where the subject is a Diaz, but on the grander scale, just try and imagine the ways a Diaz with a belt will throw a wrench into the UFC’s plans. Interviews snippets will be so short and incoherent that MMA writers will be forced to resort to rambling, ludicrous conspiracy theories just to pass the time. And as for the brand-promoting public appearances that have become the standard for a champion? You can forget about those; we’re talking about a man who once tried to fight a fictional Brazilian character at a Jiu-Jitsu expo for Christ’s sake. If one fan even mentions the Maynard fight around Diaz in public, the UFC will probably have a full-scale riot on their hands.

If you would, just picture Nate Diaz at an anti-bullying seminar for a moment. After showing up 3 hours late and being reluctantly called to the stage, Diaz will deliver a one minute diatribe aimed at America’s “faggoty yoots“ who should “just like, yeah, I dunno” before calling out “that bitch Georges,” his eyes never lifting from the linoleum floor. When he is informed that he is in fact the lightweight champion and can’t fight GSP right now, Diaz will declare that he’s “done with this shit” before slapping that stupid ass hat off the school’s gym teacher on his way out the door. Simply put, it will be glorious.

Anyway, MMAInterviews recently asked a bevy of pros including Frankie Edgar, Randy Couture, Gray Maynard, and Donald Cerrone to determine the likelihood of a world in which a Diaz is champion, and believe it or not, the overwhelming majority of them believe it’s something we should start preparing ourselves for.

Part 1 is above and part 2 is after the jump.

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It Looks Like Ben Henderson’s Days As a Lightweight Are Numbered


(Henderson, seen here making Shane Roller rapidly consider cutting to featherweight at WEC 40.) 

No, we are not jumping on the Nate Diaz bandwagon. Not yet, at least.

In a recent interview with MMAJunkie, current UFC lightweight champion Ben Henderson resentfully admitted something that no athlete is ever quick to declare: He ain’t getting any younger. And because of this, it is getting harder and harder for a massive lightweight such as “Smooth” to make the required cut for each of his title defenses. How much weight does he cut? Henderson didn’t reveal the exact number, but several close sources claimed that the lightweight champ normally resides around the 180-pound mark often up to just a few days out from fight night. It’s a massive, draining cut for any athlete to undergo, and as we’ve seen in the past, can have devastating effects on the human body. Henderson is no different, and acknowledged that he has struggled to deal with the cut as he has gotten older:

When I was in college and wrestling, I would wrestle all day long and not get tired. I remember wrestling hard for five hours – literally five hours hard –  and be just fine. I would eat friggin’ Taco Bell, be fine, and wrestle again.

I’m growing, but as far as maturing and getting thicker, I think I’m getting older right now, and it’s getting harder for me to lose the weight … and it’s harder for me to keep the weight off.

Henderson’s UFC on FOX 5 opponent, Nate Diaz, is no stranger to the difficulty of weight cutting, having moved up to welterweight to fight on several occasions but finding much less success there. The same could be argued for Henderson, who stands at a mere 5 foot 9 and would hold a distinct size disadvantage were he to move up in weight. But according to Henderson, it is only a matter of time until the choice is no longer an option.

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[VIDEOS] The NOC Takes a Look at a Typical ‘Training Day’ in the Life of Lightweight Champ Benson Henderson

Taking an in-depth look into the training and general fight philosophies of the UFC’s biggest stars, The NOC’s “Training Days” series is back, this time profiling UFC lightweight champion Ben Henderson as he prepares to prepare to defend his belt for the second time against Nate Diaz at UFC on FOX 5 in December. You read that correctly.

After scoring a pair of hotly contested wins over former champion Frankie Edgar at UFC 144 and 150, Henderson takes us through his daily training regimen at his gym in Glendale, Arizona. Not yet in full-on “training for Nate” mode, parts one and two give us a look at the intense shadow boxing sessions that Bendo begins each workout with. It’s not exactly the most thrilling routine in the world, but it does give you an idea at the amount of preparation that goes into the average training session of a UFC champion. Hell, you could even put these techniques to practice the next time you find yourself caught in a Taiwanese cage fight with a raged out Billy Blanks.

Part one is above. Check out part two after the jump.

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UFC on FOX 5 Adds Henderson vs. Diaz Title Fight, Penn vs. MacDonald, ‘Shogun’ vs. ‘Bjönes’


(Final thoughts? Well, he still thinks you’re a bitch, and he’s not trying to shake your hand, homey.)

We might bitch about UFC pay-per-view cards being watered down, but fans are definitely going to get their money’s worth on the next free UFC on FOX card. As first reported by MMA Junkie, the December 8th event (venue TBA) will be stacked with three must-see showdowns, headlined by Ben Henderson‘s second lightweight title defense against Nate Diaz.

Diaz has earned his shot at the belt with three consecutive wins over Takanori Gomi (first-round armbar), Donald Cerrone (gangsterish unanimous decision), and Jim Miller (second-round guillotine choke). Meanwhile, Henderson is a perfect 5-0 in the UFC, and just beat Frankie Edgar for the second time last weekend at UFC 150. Will Diaz be the one to stop Bendo’s juggernaut-like momentum?

In other UFC on FOX 5 booking news…

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UFC 150: Henderson vs. Edgar II — Live Results & Commentary

The 150th UFC PPV takes place at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado, which means tonight’s drinking game will lead you to the ER with liver poisoning as Joe and Goldie talk about the altitude. Headlining the card is the rematch to end all rematches when former WEC standout and current UFC lightweight champion, Benson Henderson squares off against Frankie “The Answer” Edgar.

Also on the broadcast is the front-runner to win Fight of the Night honors when Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone locks horns with Melvin Guillard. I’m told that Jake Shields and Yushin Okami are scheduled to fight Ed Hermann and Buddy Roberts respectively, and that’s totally cool, But you’re only buying this card for one reason: to see if the gold changes hands at the end of the night.

“Live” (emphasis on the quotation marks) round-by-round results from the Henderson – Edgar 2 pay-per-view main card will be piling up after the jump beginning at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT, courtesy of Jason Moles. Refresh the page every few minutes hours for all the latest, and please toss in your own inebriated thoughts in the comments section.

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