Greg Jackson: Ben Henderson Doesn’t Get His Due


Despite Ben Henderson’s dominant win over Jim Miller in August, Greg Jackson thinks the talented lightweight still hasn’t received the recognition he deserves.

Jackson would know just how good Henderson (Pictured) is: He’s been preparing Clay Guida to fight him Saturday at UFC on Fox 1. Ahead of the matchup, the renowned trainer joined the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Savage Dog Show” to discuss the matchup, his fighters and MMA in general.

On Ben Henderson: “Ben Henderson is a phenomenal, amazing fighter and one of the most underrated 155ers in the world right now. Nobody gives him his due, and they should because he’s very, very good. The great thing about Clay is, he gets counted out of every fight. Every fight I give almost this exact same interview. Everybody’s like, ‘Well, he’s tough, but …’ and then he wins and he wins and he wins and he wins. I hope we can do it again because he’s been on a great streak since he joined our camp. I hope that he can overcome Ben’s very, very technical talents and his physical talents. I hope we’ll be victorious.”

On whether Joey Villasenor, who recently won his welterweight debut, can still succeed at a high level: “I think he really can. With Joey, he’s always had the talent, but putting in the time for the running and all that stuff has been something that he’s never really done before. Now he’s just a machine. He’s running all the time. He’s training hard all the time. It’s like a whole new Joey. He was able to lose this weight [to make 170 pounds] and look great and feel great. He had a great performance. I’m really excited. It’s kind of coming late age wise, but he’s got a good three or four years left in him at least, and he can accomplish a lot in that time. I’m excited to see where it’s going to go.”

On Donald Cerrone: “I think there are a lot of things that are really special about him. He’s really, really talented. He’s very coachable in some senses and then in other senses he’s very stubborn, but that’s a good thing too because fighters have to have that fight in them. I think most of all, when he decides to really go, he’s very mentally tough. He can just go and go and go and go, and I think that breaks a lot of people down as well. Not only is he technically very good, but he also has that mentality where he just won’t quit.”

On whether Jon Jones still has a lot of room for improvement: “Oh, absolutely. He’s learning like crazy still. There’s still a lot of stuff that he’s picking up constantly because he’s very young. He’s very good at what he’s doing right now, but he’s still very young in the game. No matter how good you are, there’s just an amount of knowledge that has to be passed and that takes a certain amount of time, even if you pick up everything right away. So he’s still improving leaps and bounds.”

On giving his fighters personal growth plans: “Every fighter I have has two concurrent plans at the same time. One is game plan specific -- specifically for the opponent -- and the other is personal growth. In a big way, to look at that is obviously if you’re a great kickboxer, then you need to work on your wrestling. So that’s part of the personal growth plan that I have for each fighter. This one needs to work on his jiu-jitsu, or in his jiu-jitsu, he needs to work on his guard passes or whatever it may be. So you’re constantly improving and not devolving.”

On the hardest part of fighting: “You have to remember that the hardest part of fighting isn’t actually the fighting. Once the cage door closes and there’s someone trying to get you, that’s pretty much all you’re thinking about. The nerves usually go away just because your training kicks in and you kind of rock ‘n’ roll. It’s getting up to the cage that’s the hard part. It’s always the what-ifs and the worry and the nervousness and all that stuff -- that's the real hard part for anybody.”

On dealing with nerves: “You’re human. You have to be nervous. There are exceptions to that rule. There are fighters that just can’t wait to get out there, like the only place they’re happy is in that war. They might be a little nervous or whatever, but that’s where they’re really happy. The majority of the fighters are very nervous, but they’re used to that. … They’re used to dealing with those nerves, stepping up and then just being a professional and performing the best they can. In my experience, more fighters have those kind of nerves than are just like, ‘Woo-hoo, I can’t wait to get out there.’”

Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:32:15).

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