Benson Henderson-Gilbert Melendez - UFC on FOX 7UFC lightweight champ Benson Henderson sees a lot of himself in top contender Gilbert Melendez. Both are aggressive grapplers with submission arsenals; both prefer to strike rather than rely on their wrestling bases; both held gold in organizations seen as secondary to the UFC.

Henderson elaborated on some of the similarities between himself and “El Nino” in a recent conversation with MMAJunkie, stating it should make for an exciting scrap when the two square off this weekend at UFC on FOX 7.

“I understand what he’s saying and where he’s coming from. But I don’t think that gives him an edge one way or another,” said Henderson of Melendez’s motivation entering the effort. “It can put a chip on your shoulder, but a chip on your shoulder is oftentimes as bad as it is good for you. I’ve been there, and those same questions he’s answered are the same questions I answered when I was in the WEC. So I understand his perspective.”

Melendez is 21-2 and owns a number of respectable wins from his days as Strikeforce champion but is a relative unknown to the masses now thirsting to show the world he belongs amongst the elite.

Asked to assess Melendez as an adversary, Henderson compared the 31-year old to teammate Nate Diaz who “Bendo” beat last December.

“Nate and I were a great stylistic match-up. He’d walk forward, I’d walk forward, and who’s the better man? Let’s find out. Gil and I are going to be the same way,” explained Henderson. “He likes to move forward and push the action and the pace. I like to be that guy also. He likes to walk forward, I like to walk forward, and we’re going to throw down.”

The 18-2 Henderson is 6-0 since joining the UFC with wins over Clay Guida, Jim Miller, and Frankie Edgar. Whether he can add Melendez to the list remains to be seen.