UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson knows that Nate Diaz brings a lot of physical tools to the fight game.
He’ll have to watch out for a long reach and relentless boxing attack on the feet, while Diaz brings the same sort of aggression on the mat, but those aren’t the factors that have Henderson most concerned.
Chief among Diaz’s abilities in the Octagon that Henderson concerns himself with is… trash talk.
Yes, trash talk.
Nate Diaz and his brother, Nick, are both adept at trash talking and mocking their opponents. It’s something that each of them does in nearly every fight.
It may seem inconsequential, but trash talking can get inside of a fighter’s head, triggering unwanted, unnecessary emotions that could distract from the original game plan. And that is precisely what Henderson is worried about.
So much so that his coaches have had his training partners gabbing it up during sparring sessions, trying to goad Henderson into getting angry and make mistakes.
Henderson’s job, of course, is to work on blocking out such tactics, focusing on his own strategy and tactics.
“I’m supposed to be calm and collected and implement my game plan,” said Henderson in a recent interview with Inside MMA.
But remaining calm when someone is getting in his face, peppering him with insults, all the while also trying to pepper him with punches, admittedly, isn’t one of Henderson’s strong suits.
“I’ve been having a hard time with that,” he revealed.
That’s why he’s been working on it with his sparring partners, however; hoping to have at least built up a tolerance for it by the time he and Diaz headline UFC on Fox 5 on Dec. 8 in Seattle.
“Hopefully, come fight night, I won’t let any of that trash-talking get in my head.”
Check out Benson Henderson’s Inside MMA comments on defending Nate Diaz’s trash talk…