Across two five-round fights, Frankie Edgar has spent 50 grueling minutes in the Octagon with Benson Henderson. He dropped both bouts via decision, but it’s safe to say he knows a thing or two about the UFC lightweight champion’s game and he’s willing to share that information with Henderson’s next challenger, Nate Diaz.
“If Nate would need my help or would ask for my help, I would love to help him out,” Edgar told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “It’s Time” show with Bruce Buffer. “We got some work in last time that was really good. If I could help him out, of course I would.”
Edgar trains on the East Coast with Ricardo Almeida and Renzo Gracie, who have good relationships with Diaz’s trainer in California, Cesar Gracie. That’s how Edgar and Diaz are connected, and while they would have been fighting each other if Edgar had beaten Henderson on Saturday at UFC 150, they could now be training together instead.
“They’re great guys,” Edgar said. “Obviously the Gracie family is a big part of what I represent. Ricardo is a black belt under Renzo, and Renzo’s a Gracie himself. They’re my teachers. I look up to them a whole bunch. It means something to me. It’d be nice to see Nate get in there and mix it up with Ben.”
Henderson won a unanimous decision over Edgar in their first encounter and then edged him Saturday via a split decision that sparked no small amount of controversy. Both fights were close, but in the rematch in particular Edgar appeared to be the aggressor. Henderson said afterward he regretted not pushing the pace more, though he still felt he won the fight. Edgar doesn’t think he’ll be able to sit back against Diaz.
“I don’t think he’s going to have a choice with Nate,” Edgar said. “Nate comes forward. I think that’s just going to be what he has to deal with. Nate’s going to come after you. He’s going to throw a lot, a lot of punches and he’s going to try to get you to take a bad shot and try to snag up a submission that way.”
It’s been five and a half years since Henderson was submitted. He’s won five straight since moving to the UFC, but Diaz is also on a good run, with three straight victories. They meet Dec. 8 at UFC on Fox 5.
“I just think that Nate comes forward so much,” Edgar said. “I don’t know how Ben will deal with that. Nate’s length -- he’s got great, great jiu-jitsu. I feel the wrestling edge will probably go to Ben, but if you look at Nate’s last performances, he’s gotten so good everywhere. He fought Jim Miller, and Jim Miller couldn’t take him down. Jim Miller’s a pretty high-level wrestler too. I think Nate’s definitely a great matchup for Ben.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 17:43).