On paper, Hendricks is far and away the No. 1 contender at 170 pounds with three wins over top ten opposition in the last 12 months, including knockouts of both Jon Fitch and Martin Kampmann.
But Georges St-Pierre wanted to face Nick Diaz to settle more than a year of hype leading into their potential fight, and so what do you give the man who never asks for anything when he finally asks for something?
If you’re the UFC, you give him what he wants.
“The guy’s never asked us for anything. He’s an awesome champion, he does anything we ask of him, and he asked us for a favor. He wants to fight Diaz. It’s not like people don’t want to see it,” UFC president Dana White said about St-Pierre’s request.
White is careful to point out that they didn’t pass over Johny Hendricks for the top spot in the title race. They only chose to give St-Pierre the fight he was asking for, against Nick Diaz.
“The UFC didn’t do that, the champ did. The champ called him out and wanted to fight him. So the UFC didn’t do it, the guy who held the belt did,” said White.
“That’s who he asked us to fight, and like I just said, when somebody goes on a run as long as Georges St-Pierre has, done what he’s does for the sport, for that division and everything else, they ask for a fight that they want, then they’ll get it too.”
St-Pierre faces Diaz in the main event for UFC 158 while Hendricks will also compete on the card against Jake Ellenberger in an additional welterweight showdown.
Should he win, White says it’s a no-brainer that Hendricks would be next in line for a crack at Georges St-Pierre.
“Hendricks is definitely a contender right now, and yes, he’d be next in line,” White answered.
There is no doubt St-Pierrre vs. Diaz will be a top pay-per-view for all of 2013, and it looks like at least for this occasion, what the champ wants, the champ gets.