Next weekend the mixed martial arts community is going to get a main event that mainstream fans have wanted to see for an extended period of time. At UFC 158 Nick Diaz will return from suspension to face welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre. Looking at this bout many people have formulated an idea of how it will go and for a visual representation just look back to a few months to another main event bout where the champion faced and defeated a Diaz brother without much danger.
Last December on Fox Benson Henderson defeated Nate Diaz in a five round decision. For 25 minutes Henderson was able to push Diaz around the cage, negate his pressure boxing and control him with wrestling while staying out of dangerous positions when it comes to grappling. In looking at this fight, it is very easy to see how their performance will look familiar to the UFC 158 main event.
After the fight, St. Pierre publicly thanked Henderson for helping him create a game plan to defeat the former Strikeforce champion. During the Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale on Fuel TV, “Rush” made the following statement:
“I watched very carefully your fight against Nate Diaz. I’m going to try to use some of the stuff you have done in the fight to win over Nick Diaz, as well. I’m going to learn from what you did and try to apply it in my game plan. Thanks for showing me the blueprint.”
Henderson and St. Pierre do have similar fight styles as they both rely on wrestling to control fight positioning but are also able to score while on the feet. St. Pierre is considered one of the best wrestlers in the sport and has shown the ability to take down any opponent almost at will. Diaz, who is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt under Cesar Gracie is known for high level mat work, however he has consistently struggled against wrestlers who can control him on the mat. Diaz does use a very active boxing style that can potentially be a problem for St. Pierre, but if he uses some of the same techniques that Henderson employed against Nate he has the ability to avoid those situations as well.
While Nick Diaz isn’t considered the number one contender to George’s title; he does create an interesting matchup in some respects. Henderson was able to take the strengths away from Nate Diaz and since he and his brother has similar styles, St. Pierre using the same game plan may put this fight out of reach for the Stockton native.