Benson Henderson has been very fortunate in his UFC career. His last two fights have taken place in cities that he has both family in friends. At UFC on Fox 5 on Saturday at the KeyArena in Seattle, he'll again have the hometown advantage as he enters the cage.
Henderson spent most of his formative years in the greater Seattle area and the fan reception at the UFC on Fox 5 open workouts made it clear he's the hometown hero.
"It's funny how it's worked out that way. It's nothing on my part. I didn't do anything but I think I've been blessed my entire life and it's pretty cool to have my past three fights—pretty big fights—have been home field for me," Henderson told Bleacher Report. "I try to take it all in stride. For this fight and for every fight, I just try and focus on myself and what I need to do. Most of my friends and family, all the ones that I care about and love, they understand that I'm busy. It's not too bad."
Following the build up to this fight, there has been a lot of support in favor of Diaz from other UFC fighters. In some respects it makes sense. Diaz always brings the fight and works for a finish every time out. While some viewed this as a criticism of Henderson, the UFC lightweight champion doesn't feel disrespected.
"Just 'cause someone says something positive about one guy doesn't necessarily mean they are talking crap about another guy. I think for some reason people take it that way but I don't necessarily see it as that."
He added, "but Diaz, both Nate and Nick, are fighter's fighters. I'm a fan of Nick and Nate. The way they bring it? They're awesome. If you talk to all of the UFC fighters on the entire roster and you take a poll of who their favorite fighter is, more than likely you'll get Nick or Nate being mentioned just 'cause they love their fights."
Fighting a Diaz presents its own challenges. Henderson had to prepare for those "punches in bunches" that Nick and Nate are known for as well as incredibly crafty jiu jitsu game. But most importantly, Henderson had to train for their unique style of trash talk.
In order to do this, he enlisted his training partners to talk trash in sparring sessions. Henderson admitted that at first he was caught off guard but believes that he has overcome any issues.
"All my training partners were talking crap to me. It was weird. I think I got prepared for it. We're in the middle of sparring and they say it and then I have to work on staying calm and focused on my game plan."
He went on to break down that it's his belief that their trash talk has given them an advantage over past opponents. He cited Nick's fight against Carlos Condit as the sole case of an opponent not getting caught up in worrying what the Diaz brothers say in the cage.
"Against the Diaz brothers I think a majority of their opponents do that. Nine out of 10 do that. Only guy who hasn't was Carlos Condit and you saw how that worked out."
"But for some reason, in the middle of a fight, they say something and people get all mad and throw a flying knee from five feet away. Why would you do that? Then they're good enough to capitalize on that. My goal is to keep doing my game plan and not getting caught in that game."
*All quotes attained first hand by Bleacher Report