This time there was no controversy. There were no questions and there was no doubt who the best lightweight in the world was. Benson Henderson confirmed his status at the top of the UFC's lightweight division with a five round domination of Nate Diaz in route to a unanimous decision victory Saturday night in Seattle.
"We matched up pretty well, and it went my way tonight," said Henderson following his victory.
The Glendale resident controlled the action from the opening bell, using leg kicks and outstanding clinch work to nullify the boxing skills of Diaz. Henderson took his opponent down eight times during the fight and dropped Diaz multiple times with punches.
Henderson landed 124 significant strikes on Diaz, including 90 to the head and 49 to the legs.
"I did not perform how I would have liked," said Diaz after the fight. "I caught a punch in the eye pretty early in the fight, and things went blurry, they never came back."
Henderson was adamant that he will fight anyone in the lightweight division.
"I want to fight the best guys in the world at 155 (pounds), line them up, I'm not going anywhere."
Henderson's next outing may be a rematch against Anthony Pettis, the last man to defeat Henderson back in December of 2010.
Gustafsson Tops Shogun; Aims for Light Heavyweight Title
On Saturday night, Alexander Gustafsson went from prized prospect to title contender. The 25-year-old from Stockholm, Sweden, controlled Mauricio "Shogun" Rua for three rounds on his way to a unanimous decision victory.
Gustafsson outlanded Shogun 72-41 and took down the former UFC light heavyweight champion six times in their 15-minute fight. "The Mauler" did not lose a round on any judges scorecard, beating Rua by scores of 30-27, 30-27, 30-26.
UFC President Dana White called this fight a No. 1 contender fight earlier in the week. With the winner facing the winner of Jon Jones/Chael Sonnen. However, reports surfaced last night that Dan Henderson is not 100% healthy and Gustafsson may take his place to fight Lyoto Machida in February.
Rory MacDonald was machine-like inside and outside of the Octagon Saturday night in route to a dominant unanimous decision victory over B.J. Penn.
The future Hall of Famer Penn was unable to close the distance against MacDonald, only landing 24 significant strikes on the 23-year-old Canadian. MacDonald controlled every minute of the fight and winning a wide (30-26, 30-26, 30-27) unanimous decision.
News and Notes
Bantamweight Scott Jorgensen cashed in on Saturday, as Jorgensen claimed both "Submission of the Night" and, along with John Albert, "Fight of the Night." Yves Edwards earned "Knockout of the Night" for his KO win over Jeremy Stephens, it was the first time Stephens was knocked out in his career. Bonuses were $65,000 each.
UFC on FOX 5 drew a reported attendance of 14,412 for a live gate of $1.5 million.