Benson Henderson's Next Fight Will Be Fight of the Year Candidate

Andrew SaundersCorrespondent IIAugust 12, 2012

Courtesy of Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
Courtesy of Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Nate Diaz has already been confirmed as the next challenger in line for the UFC lightweight championship. After dominating Jim Miller, Donald Cerrone and Takanori Gomi, it's easy to see why.

Not only is Diaz highly successful, but he is one of the most exciting performers in the business today. In fact, Kevin Iole from Yahoo! Sports recently ranked the younger Diaz as the sixth-most exciting performer on The Lytle List.

"His bouts are consistently high-paced and technical, and getting more exciting all the time. Diaz is willing to take risks in order to finish and that increases the enjoyment level of his bouts."

When you look at the fact that Diaz has won four Fight of the Night bonuses, it's clear to see why he has a legion of diehard fans. His crack at the belt will come against none other than Ben "Smooth" Henderson, who won a split decision against Frankie Edgar at Saturday's UFC 150 PPV.

You'll find Bendo on the Lytle List at No. 16.

Henderson has twice defeated "The Answer" to solidify his position as the world's top lightweight fighter. He also has a pair of victories over Donald Cerrone and wins against top contenders Clay Guida and Jim Miller.

Not only does Bendo win against elite fighters, but he does so while putting on electric performances. He holds five Fight of the Night awards, as well as a Fight of the Year trophy for his 2010 bout against Anthony Pettis. 

When Diaz and Henderson meet, potentially in December, fans can expect nothing short of an all-out war between two fighters willing to leave it all in the cage and more than able to pick up the win anywhere the contest goes.

Not only is the fight a lock for Fight of the Night, the fighting style of both men, plus the incredible motivation to perform at optimum levels, makes this a sleeper candidate to win Fight of the Year honors.

Eight months into the year, current front-runners for the 2012 top prize include Gilbert Melendez vs. Josh Thomson III, Korean Zombie vs. Dustin Poirier and Joe Lauzon vs. Jamie Varner.

Stay tuned to Bleacher Report MMA for the complete aftermath of UFC 150!