Johny Hendricks is Finally the Consensus No. 1 Contender, Gets Next Shot at Georges St-Pierre

March 17, 2013
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Johny Hendricks“I’m happy the fight is done and I can be moving on with another chapter of my career.” – UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre following UFC 158.

You know that old saying, “be careful what you wish for?”

For St-Pierre, language barrier or not, he may need to get accustomed with that old adage pretty quick.  Because after St-Pierre’s unanimous decision victory over Nick Diaz at UFC 158 on Saturday night, he may have put away one trash-talking monster in dominating fashion, but he now faces a garbage man of a different sort; the no-frills, power-punching, two-time National Champion out of Oklahoma State, Johny “Big Rig” Hendricks.

UFC president Dana White, although non-committal on a firm date, made it very clear whom his number one contender for GSP is.

“(Hendricks) is your number one contender. No doubt. Done.”

He reiterated the point on the Fuel TV UFC 158 post-fight show, “Diaz won’t get a rematch. There’s no doubt Johny Hendricks deserves the next shot. That fight was amazing tonight. I’m actually glad that it worked out that way. Those were the top guys to see who faces Georges St-Pierre. Johny Hendricks deserves it.”

At UFC 158, St-Pierre faced a rather predictable Nick Diaz that all changes when he squares off with Hendricks. The surging slugger, whose wrestling credentials are just as, if not more, impressive than his knockout resume… and that’s saying a whole lot.

Riding a six-fight winning streak, “Big Rig” is currently on one of the most impressive runs in UFC history.  During his current wave of success, Hendricks has managed wins over perennial top-ten fighters Josh Koscheck, Jon Fitch, Mike Pierce, Martin Kampmann, and on Saturday night, the aforementioned Carlos Condit.

Paired with Condit, Hendricks (15-1) earned the UFC 158 “Fight of the Night” honors in a legendary scrap that displayed the 29-year-old as a serious contender with a varied and adaptable approach, something he may not have gotten to show in past bouts.  As he pressured Condit with lunging haymakers throughout the 15-minute tussle, he earned an impressive 11 of 13 takedowns, proving to the crowd in attendance that if he needed to, he could call on his all-star wrestling pedigree at the drop of a hat.

At the post-fight press conference, the Team Takedown stalwart found himself within arm’s reach (literally and figuratively) of St-Pierre and the welterweight title.

“I’m just excited. I finally got to the top and now I actually get to fight him,” said the grinning Hendricks.  “That’s what it’s all about; getting to the top and fighting the best. So I’m going to go home, study some more and be prepared the best that I can.”

Sitting side-by-side with St-Pierre, Hendricks once again reiterated that there would be very little time between the fight on Saturday and getting back to work next week.

“I can’t wait to get back home so I can start training again.  That’s pretty much all I can think about; take Monday off, then go train on Tuesday.”

When asked if he saw anything in the St-Pierre vs. Diaz main event that could help him in his fight with the champ, Hendricks only asked for the same chance Diaz had.

“Like Dana said, he stood up with him; he did a little bit of everything. Hopefully he gives me that chance too,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about, going out there and putting on a show for the fans and the people watching on TV. I can’t wait to go out there and prove to everyone that I belong.”

Hendricks may be bringing powerful in-ring ability when he squares off with the French Canadian champion, but what about the ability to sell a fight? Something UFC 158 co-headliner Nick Diaz was seemingly able to do so well.

“I don’t want to sit there and bad mouth somebody,” Hendricks stated. “Like Georges said, we all train hard. We all put in the same exact sacrifice every fight. I don’t have to sit here and say ‘he’s this, he’s this, he’s this.’ I want my fists and abilities to get the fight.

“I don’t want to hate someone to fight them. This is my job. I get paid to go out there and put on a show for everybody and that’s what I’m going to do. So getting to fight Georges, I just can’t wait.”

As long as Johny Hendricks’ hands are wrapped tight, something tells me fans and pundits will forgive any lack of promotional ability for “Big Rig.”

In the endearing words of New York Jet Bart Scott, may we all say, “Can’t wait!”

  • Jay

    1: Hendricks was already the consensus #1 contender before this fight

    2: the ads on this website are annoying

  • BobLemons

    I think MMA judging gives too much credit to wrestling. A takedown is a kind of transition, not an attack (except in the cases of powerful slams) so if the takedown doesn’t lead to a submission or good GnP then it shouldn’t count for much. I thought Condit was more dangerous off his back than Hendricks was on top. A flawed judging criteria cost Condit was I thought was a clear win.

    As for GSP vs Hendricks, I see GSP beating him to the punch and avoiding those big shots, I see it being a GSP jabathon like his fights with Shields and Koscheck.

    • MuayThaiFood

      Agreed, nothing against Hendricks, but in this fight he did less than Condit who was on his back. Even with the threat of the takedown, Condit was throwing kicks and going for the kill on the feet. When he was on the ground he gave better than he got and didn’t stay there for long. He was winning the fight on the feet. You can say he should of kept Hendricks from taking him down but why should he when he can fight the way he wants to on the feet without fear of taking damage if he’s taken down? Why is it a fighter can win from the bottom (via sub) but nothing but an absolute win counts. And what about escaping? Why aren’t all the people that blast GSP all over this?

      • Sir_Roy

        Again, I agree with you 100%.

        If anything, and at the very least, the fact Condit got right back up should erase the take down in the eyes of the judges.

        But even beyond this, a blind man could see Hendricks wanted no part of Condit’s BJJ and was fighting more defensively and in more trouble on the ground than Condit was.

        • BobLemons

          As the pair of you said, if a takedown scores a point, escaping and returning to your feet should score a counter point, nullifying the first scored point. And yup, Hendricks takedowns weren’t an attempt to lead to anything, just avoiding a losing stand-up fight. Nothing against Big Rig, he did what he could with a seemingly bad hand, and I would like to see GSP Hendricks more than GSP Condit II.

          But Condit needs to be treated with that loss as being a mere statistic, he’s still the number 2 WW. He needs some counter wrestling lessons from a dude like Bisping, because nobody can stand with him.

          On another note, GSPs wrestling against Diaz was utter domination, if you find it boring, fair enough, but it was ruthless and effective.

    • Sir_Roy

      Good post. I agree 100%. Especially with regards the almighty take downs.

      Take downs need to amount to something otherwise they should be perceived in the context within which they were used. Namely;

      1. A defensive measure – used to avoid an opponent who is winning the stand-up, whereupon they should go almost unnoticed insofar as points are concerned (points being awarded only if something offensive comes of it like good GnP, submission attempts etc.)

      OR

      2. An offensive measure where the fighter is obviously not running from the stand-up but, rather, the take down is an offensive measure with the fighter making a brilliant transition off effective striking to work some GnP (as GSP so often does) and work his BJJ.

  • Ron Wheeler

    No idea how the judges saw that fight as a Hendricks win. They should only score takedowns if the fighter does something with it. All that happened here was Hendricks lamely held onto Condit’s waist while Condit thumped him on the side of the head then got up. Don’t get me wrong, good fight, but Condit won.

    • http://www.facebook.com/swift.hammer.9 Patrick Hammer

      Bas Rutten said the exact same thing on his facebook commentary, something needs to change considerably within the mma judging criteria.

    • Hugh Shakeshaft

      No different that holding on in boxing. Think a boxer should get points for that? Why is the UFC different?

  • Adam Bianski

    I think GSP will finish Hendricks. Hendricks has no gas tank, the fight will go to the fourth and that is when the punishment will begin.

    • Sir_Roy

      He looked solid enough for three rounds in a fairly high octave fight against the true #1 contender … which is, of course, Carlos Condit.

      That said, I’d rather see what Hendricks’ style brings to a GSP fight than sit through another Condit versus GSP so it works …

  • http://www.facebook.com/swift.hammer.9 Patrick Hammer

    Consensus? Is that the word the “journalist” was reaching for? This website is becoming worse than sherdog. The writers cannot even spell, much less put a coherent thought or objective story together.Endearing words “can’t wait”. Is this crap for real? Pathetic.

    • Adam Bianski

      Hey pathetic, little man you are back. Maybe take your anger out on some weights or something. Dude you are very sad, that is o.k. if you need help hit me up. I don’t want to see another mass shooting or another suicide. Please get help real soon.

      • Scott Tenorman

        Sherdog has some of the best writing in MMA; both past and present. What’s your problem, buddy? Come on guy. I’m kind of liking the articles from the new addition, McKinnell. Elkins piece was quality.

        • Adam Bianski

          Did you mean to reply to me, lol I know you didn’t this dude is whacked man.

      • Ryan McKinnell

        Thanks Scott and Adam for the kind words, etc.

      • http://www.facebook.com/swift.hammer.9 Patrick Hammer

        Hmmm,dude, dude,dude, hit me up dude, hahaha, not doing any projecting there are we?”Pathetic,little man”? Seems like projection to me.Nice try at an insult though. Sorry I upset you by pointing out mediocrity in mma journalism. English is your friend, don’t sell yourself so short.We must use it to communicate and you kind of seem like the angry one here. I have a clear objective to point out mediocre journalism and the contradictions within the stories. You should thank me and the growing number of mma fans,fighters and trainers that are getting fed up with this journalistic drivel and we, as dissatisfied voices, are driving the evolution of it as well. Hold fast my friend, as mma journalism becomes more lucrative, we will see an influx of more talented and focused journalists. We are still in the dark ages at the moment.

        • kbroesq

          It’s funny because there are several grammatical mistakes in your own writing. Look up comma use and ‘direct address.’

          Maybe you should check your own writing before you criticize.

          • http://www.facebook.com/swift.hammer.9 Patrick Hammer

            I never, mentioned, grammatical,mistakes,other,than the misspelling of the word consensus, I mentioned less than professional,journalism,?o,K: .”?!We’re ,not.grasping,at/straws)here are we#?<Do,you,find,a misspelling:in the'"headlines,unprofessional:"{?*

    • Ryan McKinnell

      Hey there. Just thought I’d clear this up; I never used consensus in my story. I don’t write the headlines, that’s for the Editor. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy the ending. Sorry you’re so mad. Thanks for reading, though!

      • Adam Bianski

        What do you think of fight with Hendricks and GSP I think Hendricks is in trouble and does not have the gas tank to handle GSP’s constant movement. Also I feel Hendricks won this fight he dominated the standup and the taking down and getting beat up from the bottom only took place for a little while the dude was tired, He dominated the standup and took the fight to the ground every time he tried.

        • Ryan McKinnell

          Yeah, that was obviously just a response to the whole thing, there. The Hendricks/Condit scrap was very close. But those 11/13 takedowns weren’t just your garden-variety TDs. They were swift and authoritative. Granted, there was a lack of action once they went to the ground, that was more a testament to Condit being the ultra-tough competitor he is. As far as JH/GSP goes; I like Johny’s chances. Georges works best when he dictates the action — when he pushes the pace. He relies on his stiff jab, his unpredictability and obviously his wrestling to control the action. With Johny, he will have a fighter unlike which he’s ever come in contact with before. Sure, Fitch was a great wrestler. And sure, Alves, Condit and others were well rounded. But Fitch lacked striking power/finishing ability, as have many of Georges’ past opponents. And when compared to Hendricks, it’s apples and oranges, he’s that dangerous. He has raw, unbridled, corn-fed stopping power with a two-time National Championship pedigree to back it up. He’s going to get in St-Pierre’s face quick, and with a ton of power. He’s going to test his wrestling ability (If you think Diaz could sprawl….just wait. And don’t forget, even Jake Shields took GSP down I believe….can’t remember off the top…point being….), he’s going to push the pace, and, in theory, take GSP’s ability to control the action away from him. GSP is a phenomenal champion. One of the best this sport has ever seen. That said, he’s never faced anyone like Hendricks. And in an era where it’s the cool thing to pick against GOATS, I never do. I always go with the legend. But with Weidman, and in this case Hendricks, the new breed is rising at a frenzied pace. I do think you bring up an interesting point about cardio, but until I see REAL up-to-date info that shows me otherwise, I’m banking on the two-time NC to come in with plenty in the tank. And I believe it was GSP who was looking up at the clock in the third against Diaz. It’s a great fight, bottom line, and I think it will be very interesting if Georges can start creeping up on Anderson for GOAT talk.

          • Sir_Roy

            Not a bad breakdown. But I must ask; what do you mean “even Jake Shields”? You realize, Jake Shields is a wrestler born and raised first and foremost right? GSP completely shut Jake down for 5 rounds … a wrestler who out wrestled a bigger and more powerful wrestler in ultra strong Dan Henderson.

            Jake’s only break against GSP came in the form of an eye poke which saw Georges fighting half blind for the later two rounds.

            GSP shut down both Jake and Koscheck’s wrestling. Hendrick’s wrestling doesn’t worry too much. His heavy hands, however, do. I wonder how GSP will handle Hendrick’s bull rush right out of the gate, and if Georges can transition well enough to neutralize the onslaught with effective take downs and or striking of his own.

            Not to take anything away from Georges, but he doesn’t have Condit’s grit or his chin I believe (not that GSP has a weak chin). So it’s a dangerous prospect.

            His fight with Diaz highlighted definite holes we hadn’t heretofore seen IMHO.

          • Ryan McKinnell

            Absolutely. Jake is a solid wrestler. But he uses his grip, control and positioning to his advantage. He doesn’t have the super-quick shot, like a GSP or Hendricks. I wouldn’t define him as a ground and pound’er like GSP, either; he uses his wrestling and control to set up submissions. But yes, he is a more than capable grappler, for sure. And did GSP dominate Jake? I thought Jake was within a point on some cards? 48-47? In fact, I think I had him winning two rounds — it’s been a while though.

            You’re 100% right about Condit’s chin. It was legendary before the fight, but eating those left hands just raised that chin’s lore into fairytale land. I think he took a couple knees to the chin, too.

            This 170-pound division is something special — very similar to 205 in ’06-’07. MacDonald, Ellenberger, Kampmann, Hendricks, Maia; honestly any one of them could have their night against GSP, IMO. There’s just so much varied talent….YOUNG talent that’s right on the cusp of reaching their respective primes. They all seem to be legit killers, and they don’t really look to be slowing down, or taking it easy. They’re all hungry. They’re all pissed off (seemingly at having to fight each other, lol) and they’re all competing in memorable scraps. Good stuff all around.

            And to be fair, GSP could easily clean out the division (again) and continue his historic run. He’s already the greatest WW champion of all-time for a reason. He’s a proven winner. At 31, sure you can say there are holes, that’s true with any fighter — but good lord, he doesn’t lose like other fighters. Dude just wins. So it’s all these talented up-and-comers staring up at the man who defined an era of MMA in the welterweight division (and still does), it really is a unique time.

  • kbroesq

    I agree with what everyone is saying about how overrated take downs are, but I wanted to add something that also bothers me:

    Wrestling also takes away from the action in the fight. How many times did Condit get up and try to get aggressive with Hendrix, and Hendrix would just take him down again and lay on him. Joe Rogan actually had a very good quote. He said that Condit did more damage to Hendrix from the bottom than Hendrix did to Condit from the top. Totally true. I was screaming at the T.V. every time Hendrix took Condit down. It wasn’t the take down in and of itself that bothered me; it was the fact that Hendrix was taking Condit down to basically stop fighting.

    Anyway, I already had mad respect for Condit before this fight, but I’m even more impressed with him now.

    • http://www.facebook.com/swift.hammer.9 Patrick Hammer

      I agree, wrestling should be removed from mma and only allowed in the Olympics. Just for the record, there are grammatical errors in your post. No sense in being hypocritical now is there? Maybe we can research proper comma usage together. Kids these days.

      • kbroesq

        Don’t argue with a lawyer. How exactly am I being hypocritical? The irony is that I was pointing out YOUR hypocrisy.

        You were complaining about spelling/grammatical mistakes through a post that, itself, had mistakes in it. THAT is hypocrisy.

        I, on the other hand, was simply pointing out your hypocrisy by telling you in a post that your own post contained errors. No matter how many errors my post contains (and you’re a lot smarter than me if you see any), that doesn’t make me a hypocrite. My post can look like it was written by a two year old. It wouldn’t matter because I’m not calling people out specifically for grammar and spelling. I called you out because of hypocrisy; not specifically for spelling and grammar.

        • MuayThaiFood

          You definitely won that exchange in my book. He thought he had taken you down and scored but, like Condit, you verbally elbowed him in the head nullifying the take down.

          • kbroesq

            Totally worth the 5 hours it took me to think of it and write it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/timo.najera Timo Najera

    Bull s*** bull s***. this is the second fight the just plain bad judges. Hendricks must be paying the judges off. I’ve done martial arts my whole life and watching people say Hendricks is number 1 is just plain not true. Diaz or Condit maybe. they should rematch.