To successfully defend the Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight crown for a second time, Benson Henderson must deny a challenger whose stock has never been higher.
Henderson tipped the scales at 154.6 pounds for his five-round confrontation with “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 5 winner Nate Diaz (*155) in the UFC on Fox 5 main event this Saturday at the Key Arena in Seattle. The six other fighters called to duty on the main card, including light heavyweight co-headliners Alexander Gustafsson (205.4) and Mauricio Rua (205), also met their contracted weight requirements without issue at Friday’s official weigh-in.
A Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt under Royce Gracie protégé John Crouch, Henderson has compiled a perfect 5-0 mark since joining the UFC as part of the World Extreme Cagefighting merger. The 29-year-old MMA Lab representative last appeared at UFC 150 in August, when he eked out a split verdict over former champion Frankie Edgar in their rematch at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Henderson has won 15 of his past 16 fights.
Diaz last competed at UFC on Fox 3 in May, when he coaxed a tapout from the rugged Jim Miller with a second-round guillotine choke at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J., becoming the first man to ever submit the AMA Fight Club mainstay. A Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under Cesar Gracie, he owns an 11-5 record inside the Octagon and has pieced together a three-fight winning streak since returning to the 155-pound division. Diaz has secured 14 of his 16 career victories by knockout, technical knockout or submission. However, the 27-year-old Stockton, Calif., native is just 2-6 in fights that reach the judges.
UFC on Fox 5 “Henderson vs. Diaz” -- which airs live on Fox at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT -- will also feature a pair of welterweight matchups, as Tristar Gym standout Rory MacDonald (170.2) toes the line against former two-division champion B.J. Penn (168.2) and the American Kickboxing Academy’s Mike Swick (170) takes on “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 7 alum Matt Brown (170.2).
Three hours prior, the FX network will carry six preliminary bouts: Yves Edwards (155) vs. Jeremy Stephens (155.8), Mike Easton (135) vs. Raphael Assuncao (136), Ramsey Nijem (155.4) vs. Joe Proctor (154.6), Daron Cruickshank (155) vs. Henry Martinez (*158.8), Marcus LeVesseur (155.4) vs. Abel Trujillo (155.4) and Dennis Siver (146) vs. Nam Phan (145.4). The lone remaining undercard fight will stream to the UFC’s Facebook page at 4:20 p.m. ET/1:20 p.m. PT, as Scott Jorgensen (135.2) locks horns with John Albert (136).
UFC on Fox 5 “Henderson vs. Diaz” Weigh-In Results:
Benson Henderson (154.6) vs. Nate Diaz (*155)
Alexander Gustafsson (205.4) vs. Mauricio Rua (205)
Rory MacDonald (170.2) vs. B.J. Penn (168.2)
Mike Swick (170) vs. Matt Brown (170.2)
Yves Edwards (155) vs. Jeremy Stephens (155.8)
Mike Easton (135) vs. Raphael Assuncao (136.4)
Ramsey Nijem (155.4) vs. Joe Proctor (154.6)
Daron Cruickshank (155) vs. Henry Martinez (*158.8)
Marcus LeVesseur (155.4) vs. Abel Trujillo (155.4)
Dennis Siver (146) vs. Nam Phan (145.4)
Scott Jorgensen (135.2) vs. John Albert (136)
* Main eventer Nate Diaz made weight on his third attempt. Henry Martinez failed to make weight (158.8). Raphael Assuncao made weight on his second attempt.