CRUZ: “I TAKE HENDERSON OVER MELENDEZ WITH HIS PACE AND THE WAY HE MIXES IT UP.”

LOS ANGELES, CA – On this week’s UFC TONIGHT, break down the FOX UFC SATURDAY card. Plus, we’ve got an exclusive Jon Jones interview and much more.

Quote of the Week: UFC TONIGHT Guest Host Dominick Cruz on Benson Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez: “Benson can make history in the UFC. In the lightweight division, that’s crazy to do because it’s one of the most competitive divisions. But you’ve got to think Melendez brings a huge skill set to the table that Benson hasn’t seen. He has a great wrestling background, a great boxing background and he can box with Benson whenever he wants to. This is a real test for Ben Henderson.”

UFC TONIGHT’s Kenny Florian on Henderson vs. Melendez: “Benson really needs to be careful on the inside. Gilbert Melendez has a great knack of getting on the inside and throwing bunches of punches. He’s a high-volume striker when he gets in there, and we haven’t really seen Benson as the counter-striker. I think it’s going to force Benson to wrestle and it’s going to come down to who’s the better wrestler here. I pick Henderson to win this one.”

Cruz picks Henderson over Melendez: “Gilbert Melendez has power strikes. He has the most significant strikes in Strikeforce history. He doesn’t waste movement and makes you make a mistake and takes a good shot. But I take Henderson with his pace and the way he mixes it up. Gilbert is a beast though.”

Cruz on Frank Mir vs. Daniel Cormier: “You look at Mir and what he does on the ground and it’s absolutely incredible because he’s ripped people’s arms off, and he’s choked them unconscious. And you have to like a guy like Cormier, who’s an Olympic wrestler and if he doesn’t want to go to the ground, he won’t. We don’t even know if Mir will be able to use his grappling abilities on a guy like Cormier. Cormier will keep it standing, pick him apart with his striking and add a takedown to keep Mir off his rhythm. Cormier takes this one.”

Florian on Mir vs. Cormier: “You’ve got to look at the size advantage. Daniel Cormier isn’t the biggest heavyweight out there, but Frank Mir is a huge heavyweight. We’re talking about the guy who’s the best submission guy in UFC history against Daniel Cormier, who comes from a world-class wrestling background. Will he go into his default mode and take Frank Mir down? That could be trouble for him. But I’m going with the Olympian here. His wrestling is going to control where the fight goes and I think he has a little bit better hands.”

Cruz on Nate Diaz vs. Josh Thompson: “You’ve got to look at the styles. You’ve got Thompson who mixes kicks and punches. He might have the edge in the wrestling. I think this fight is going to come down to who gets more takedowns. You’re going to see Thompson move his feet a lot and it’s going to be hard for Nate Diaz to find him.”

Florian on Diaz vs. Thompson: “Nate Diaz really puts so much pressure on his opponents. If you don’t have good footwork, you’re in trouble against a Diaz. It doesn’t matter how much power you have, Nate Diaz will beat up your body. Josh Thompson has to be able to circle away from that pressure and mix things up with his takedowns. And if he takes him down, he better be careful on the mat because Nate Diaz is as good as it gets on the mat as well.”

UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones’ response to Chael Sonnen’s comments on Twitter and UFC TONIGHT: “I don’t really have too much of a response. Chael’s doing what he does best. He’s promoting a fight and I’m going to let him do it.”

Jones on why he’s not trash talking before UFC 159: “I realize through experience that talking trash does nothing for the fight.”

Jones on his statement that Sonnen lacked a “champion’s soul:” “People know that Chael Sonnen has done steroids throughout his whole career and that’s probably why his testosterone is low now. I don’t think that is the heart or the attitude of a champion, so that’s what I meant when I said he lacks champion’s soul.”

Jones on what he’s most concerned about against Sonnen: “I’m really not concerned with too many of Chael’s gifts. Chael is an awesome fighter, he has pretty good boxing, he loves wrestling and he’s been really successful with his wrestling. He has really good ground-and-pound. I’ve just familiarized myself with the whole thing and I’m really comfortable with what I’m getting ready to face. I wouldn’t say any of it really concerns me. I’m just ready to go out there, react, be instinctual, do my best and try to do what I do.”

Jones on if he has something to say to Sonnen: “I’d tell him to bring it. Bring your best. I hope you’re having a great camp and I hope you’re healthy and I’m excited for this awesome challenge.”

UFC TONIGHT Insider Ariel Helwani on what’s next for Demian Maia: “Demian Maia’s manager Eduardo Alonso says that Demian’s anxious to get back. Demian wants to return on the August 3rd card in Rio, and he’d be honored to fight Nick Diaz. They have a lot of respect for Diaz. This fight makes a lot of sense. If you look at the welterweight rankings, everyone else is booked or just fought. They’re ranked fifth and sixth and would make a lot of sense.”

Helwani on what’s next for Urijah Faber: “Urijah Faber looked so good in his last fight. He says he’s in a good place, back on a winning streak. He had a few injuries before this fight, an injured sternum and had a small fracture in one of his hands, and he’s ok taking some time off and healing up. He’d be down to fight in a couple of months. He wants a fight that makes sense for him. He’ll wait and see.”