Micah Curtis - For the Daily Union
SHELBYVILLE, IL. —
In the world of MMA, it’s one thing to be a champion. It’s another to become a star. Benson Henderson may have reached that status after his incredible defeat of Nate Diaz on Saturday.
After defending his title against former champion Frankie Edgar this year, Benson Henderson found himself the victim of several critics, especially in regards of him being capable of being a dominant champion.
Many expected Nate Diaz to be able to take the champion to his limits. Quite the opposite happened as Diaz found himself being outworked, outsmarted, and overpowered for a half hour under a sweltering assault by the champion.
Though Diaz was able to stay on his feet during the course of the fight, Henderson’s offense seemed to stifle the young Californian at every turn. Diaz would find himself taken off his feet by leg kicks to his front leg. Whenever Diaz would prepare to unload combinations, Henderson would take him to the mat when he saw Diaz’s weight press on his front foot.
Henderson floored Diaz with feints followed by hard punches, and once even dropped Diaz while the young Stockton native was taunting the Champion. At the end of the night, Diaz had survived, but learned that if you’re going to step up to the king, you had best not miss.
Other stars seemed to be born underneath the main event as well. Rory MacDonald turned in an incredible effort against former Welterweight and Lightweight champion B.J. Penn as he beat the Hawaiian from pillar to post. The one-sided beating had UFC champion Dana White hoping Penn would finally retire.
Alexander Gustaffson was also able to defeat former Light Heavyweight champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, but the bout was competitive until Rua wore out in the third round. For MacDonald, he may see a rematch against Carlos Condit, whom defeated the young Canadian in his first loss. MacDonald called out the former title challenger after defeating Penn.
UFC on Fox 5 ended up seeing over 3 million viewers on average during the course of the broadcast, and the promotion will return to Fox in January.