Jones gets the opportunity to be the first fighter to knock out Henderson when he defends the light-heavyweight championship against the two-time Olympian in the headlining bout of UFC 151 in Las Vegas Sept. 1. The card also features a co-main event between Jake Ellenberger and Jay Hieron.
Jones said the secret to finishing the job is to remain composed and pick his shots when he has Henderson reeling.
“A lot of times, when they drop him, they rush into him,” Jones said. “We’ve really dissected a lot of things where people go wrong when it’s come time to finish him. Anderson did a good job of controlling him, really stabilizing him and making shots count. I think a lot fighters don’t have the necessary ground-and-pound to finish the game, either.
“Another thing, people get him hurt and it seems like they gas out and they can’t finish the deal. One thing I know I won’t do is gas out.”
If Jones wants to stand and trade when the cage door shuts, Henderson will be more than happy to accommodate him. Though he entered the sport a decorated Greco-Roman wrestler, Henderson has never been afraid to slug it out with the best. More often than not, he puts opponents to sleep with his vicious overhand right.
But that may be easier said than done against Jones, who has a 131/2-inch reach advantage.
“There are probably a number of things I have to do to win the fight,” Henderson began. “I need to at least hit him, I need to control him — the same things he needs to do to me. I don’t want to stay on the outside and let him use the length to hit me when I’m too far to hit him. That wouldn’t be too fun of a fight for me.”
Despite Jones finding success with his unorthodox striking style, Henderson feels the light-heavyweight champ can get sloppy.
“I think at times he is a little sloppy with his striking,” Henderson said. “That (provides me) with certain opportunities to land some strikes. It’s what I see when I watch tapes. I’m sloppy sometimes, too.
“It’s not an insult, it’s what it is.”
Regardless of intentions, Jones took the comments to heart and responded by calling Henderson an older version of Rashad Evans.
“I went into this fight with extreme respect for Dan and I still have respect for Dan,” Jones said. “That’s why I was so disappointed when he started making fun of me. Goofy elbows, young kid, sloppy fighter and all these insults back-to-back to start off the whole fight. So I was like, ‘Oh, this is how we’re going to play.’
“When insults get thrown out, it causes me to speak more honestly. I spoke my mind and I do really feel he’s an older version of Rashad. Rashad Evans has an extreme overhand right. It’s lightning fast to the point where you don’t even see it coming. He actually caught me with that overhand right during our fight and I did not see it coming.
“Rashad’s overhand right is his main weapon. Dan’s overhand right is his main weapon. The difference is the extreme speed difference.
“Rashad has good cardio and can bring it for five hard rounds. I don’t think Dan can do that.”
Henderson admitted his cardio suffered in certain fights, but said it won’t be an issue when he meets Jones.
“I’m probably an older version of a lot of people,” Henderson joked. “I don’t feel I have the same style as Rashad. We have totally different wrestling styles, but it doesn’t matter to me.
“Some times my cardio could have been a little better. But a lot of that is attributed to the pace of the fight. I’ve had some good paces in my fights. But I’m not worried about my cardio at all for this fight.”
K-1, SPIKE TV DEAL
Kickboxing fans, prepare to get your K-1 fix.
Spike TV announced a multiplatform deal with the legendary promotion, which will see events streamed online in 2012 and then broadcast on television in 2013.
“K-1 is excited to join forces with Spike TV, a powerful and highly experienced cable network known nationally for its combat sports programming, presenting our live K-1 events,” K-1 CEO Doug Kaplan stated in a news release. “Spike is the perfect television home and stage to introduce our K-1 warriors and the fast-paced, aggressive style of K-1 fighting.”
The new deal is similar to the network’s agreement with MMA promotion Bellator Fighting Championships, which will also appear on Spike TV in 2013 and currently streams on Spike.com.
The website will kick off the K-1 festivities with the American leg of the 2012 world grand prix live from Los Angeles on Sept. 8. This will be followed by cards in Tokyo Oct. 14, Athens Dec. 8 and New York Dec. 26.
A major lightweight bout has been confirmed for UFC 155 in Las Vegas Dec. 29.
Joe Lauzon is set to take on former title challenger Gray Maynard on the main card. The event will be headlined by a heavyweight championship rematch between Junior dos Santos and Cain Velasquez. Also, Chael Sonnen makes his light-heavyweight return against Forrest Griffin.
Lauzon is coming off a fight-of-the-year contender against Jamie Varner at UFC on FOX 4 earlier this month. After more than two rounds of back-and-forth action, Lauzon put the former WEC champion away with a triangle choke.
Maynard’s last outing saw him edge Clay Guida via split decision in the main event of UFC on FX 4 in June.
Though the former NCAA Division I wrestler picked up the victory, the bout was hard on the eyes due to Guida running away and refusing to engage a visibly frustrated Maynard.
RAMA CARD SHAPING UP
Bellator Fighting Championships is set to return to Casino Rama in Ontario this fall.
Bellator 79 will take place Nov. 2 in Rama, Ont., and feature bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas, UFC and Strikeforce vet Paul (Semtex) Daley, and Edmonton welterweight Ryan (Real Deal) Ford.
Though no official bouts have been announced, Dantas is expected to defend his title against the winner of this season’s 135-pound tournament final between Marcos Galvao and Luis Nogueira at Bellator 73, which Canadian fans can stream Friday at Spike.com. The Nova Uniao standout dethroned Zach Makovsky via technical submission at Bellator 65 in April.
After securing his release from Strikeforce, Daley made a successful promotional debut in July, putting away Rudy Bears with punches at Bellator 72.
Ford’s last outing saw him score a huge comeback TKO win over Luis Santos at Bellator 67 in May.
EDGAR MOVE WORTH THE WEIGHT
Frankie Edgar is dropping to featherweight.
Despite holding the lightweight championship for almost two years, Edgar has been dogged by questions about moving to the 145-pound division.
After losing the 155-pound title to Benson Henderson in February, UFC president Dana White attempted to persuade Edgar to drop down. But Edgar held out for a rematch with Henderson, which he lost via controversial split decision earlier this month.
With his lightweight title hopes squashed for the time being, Edgar is looking for a fresh start at featherweight.
“The fight at UFC 150 didn’t go my way,” Edgar told UFC.com. “I’m not saying I’ll never fight 155 ever again, but this is something different. Dana wants me to go down and right now it’s the right time to do it.”
Though an opponent has yet to be announced, Edgar hopes to make his featherweight debut by the end of the year.