UFC on Fox 5 Is the Best Main Card of the Year

Jordy McElroyCorrespondent IDecember 8, 2012

Benson Henderson and Nate Diaz - Esther Lin/MMAFighting
Benson Henderson and Nate Diaz - Esther Lin/MMAFighting

UFC on Fox 5 proves that the best things in life are free.

In a year filled with injury and disappointment, the UFC brings its best main card of 2012 to KeyArena in Seattle.

The main card presents a stellar lineup from top to bottom that isn't solely focused on marquee names. Instead, the meat and potatoes of the UFC's fifth Fox event give fans a rare mix of world-class talent and intriguing matchups.

Benson Henderson is set to defend his lightweight title against Nate Diaz in the headliner.

Henderson doesn't really get the respect he deserves as a UFC champion. Perhaps some still believe judges gifted him a pair of decision victories over Frankie Edgar. A win over Diaz would go a long way in proving Henderson is the best lightweight in the world.

Diaz, who is on a three-fight win streak, has seemingly turned into a contender overnight. Fans are seeing a more mature and complete fighter.

Luckily, he hasn't sacrificed his controversial habits of arm waving, trash talking and middle-finger flipping.

What's a Diaz bout without a little hell raising?

The co-main event features a No. 1 contender's bout at light heavyweight between former UFC champ Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and rising Swedish star Alexander Gustafsson.

Shogun will have to put forth a much better performance than he has in his last couple of bouts. Gustafsson is a worthy light-heavyweight contender who is beginning to set himself apart from the rest of the division as the only legitimate threat to Jon Jones.

There are two great fights already on top of this brilliant main card, but in the hearts of fans, it's tough to top the welterweight showdown between B.J. Penn and Rory MacDonald.

The back-and-forth banter between the two stars has taken on a life of its own in what now seems like a superhero-versus-super-villain bout.

Penn is the legend coming out of retirement in hopes of breathing new life into his career, and MacDonald is the silent assassin looking to write the obituary of one of MMA's all-time greats.

UFC on Fox 5 is the best main card of the year. What happens tonight could change the face of the UFC forever.

This could be the final time Penn ever steps foot in the Octagon, if he loses to MacDonald. Years from now, people may look back and say Gustafsson's performance against Shogun was the first glimpse of a future champion.

It may also be remembered as the night Nate Diaz finally stepped from the long-cast shadows of his brother Nick and became a world champion. Regardless of what happens, history will be made at UFC on Fox 5.

Will you be a part of it?