"He's the champ, and he knows he needs to win five rounds to keep that belt. GSP does it the same way," Pettis told MMA Junkie. "These guys are intelligent fighters, and they know they have to win the rounds to keep their belt. I'm expecting him to do what he's been doing. He's going to come out, do just enough to win the rounds, and keep his belt. That's his game plan, and that's never my game plan. I'm always looking to finish."
Pettis is right that Henderson is a decision-winner. He hasn't won a fight by a stoppage since April 24, 2010, when he submitted Donald Cerrone in the WEC. Of his 19 wins, nine are decisions, eight are submissions and two are knockouts. Finishing fights hasn't been his forte for a long time.
But just looking at those straight numbers doesn't tell the whole story. The people Henderson has fought are really, really difficult to stop. Take a look at the last four men he has faced.
Gilbert Melendez has never been knocked out or submitted. Nate Diaz was submitted once in his career, and it happened in 2006. Diaz was knocked out by Josh Thomson after he fought Henderson. Henderson beat Frankie Edgar in two straight decisions. Decisions are the only way Edgar has lost a fight. Clay Guida, who Henderson fought before he was the champ, has been finished more than any of Henderson's opponents. Guida is 30-13, and only one of his losses came by decision.
The lightweight division is traditionally one of the toughest in the UFC. Getting decision wins doesn't mean Henderson isn't a great fighter. It means that he is fighting in well-matched fights.
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