Although it was unexpectedly dominant, UFC lightweight champ Ben Henderson ran a clinic on the tough Nate Diaz, flawlessly implementing his skills on the Stocktonian in a five-round title fight during UFC on Fox 5.
Aside from crisp striking, solid wrestling and elite grappling defense, "Bendo" also pulled out an interesting new trick during the bout.
Diaz's lead leg quickly became a target for Henderson's massive kicks, followed up by surprisingly effective jabs to the thigh. Over the course of the fight, the damage on Diaz's leg built up tremendously, hampering his movement and even flooring him.
Fuel TV hosted an interview with Bendo in the aftermath to ask him about that specific technique. As it turns out, the champion learned it from an unlikely source:
No, I actually planned it. I got to shout out Alex Caceres for that one. He came up to the MMA Lab for his last fight training camp—he won in Macau and looked great. But his last training camp, he did six weeks at my gym, the MMA Lab in Glendale, Arizona.
He did it to me and it actually hurt. He's a  pounder. He weighs 150 pounds soaking wet. He did it to me and it hurt me. I was like, "Huh, that stung a little bit. I want to see if I can steal that."
Alex "Bruce Leeroy" Caceres, a young fighter in the UFC and former Ultimate Fighter competitor for Team Georges St-Pierre, is widely known for an extremely unorthodox striking arsenal. Originally a lightweight during TUF, Careres now competes at bantamweight with a 3-1 record in the division.
As Henderson tells it, that knee/thigh punch tactic was extremely effective in training, even damaging his training partners in preparations for his title defense against Diaz at UFC on Fox 5. Henderson trains with notable fighters like journeyman Joe Riggs and veteran Jamie Varner.
Henderson battered Nate Diaz in a heavily one-sided decision victory on Saturday, remaining undefeated in the UFC with a 6-0 record.
Ever since coming into the promotion, Henderson has also defeated several top-ranked UFC fighters including Jim Miller, Clay Guida and Frankie Edgar (twice).
During the last five years, Henderson has only tasted defeat once at the hands of Anthony Pettis, the last World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) Lightweight Champion. Although a UFC debut loss to Clay Guida disrupted a planned title shot, Pettis has since rebounded with back-to-back wins over Jeremy Stephens and Joe Lauzon.