That’s all it took for Johny Hendricks to make his name in the welterweight division, knocking out Jon Fitch in emphatic fashion.
Coming into the fight, Fitch was as usual a heavy favorite. The former title contender and No. 2 ranked welterweight had been undefeated in the UFC outside of a loss to champion Georges St-Pierre and a draw with B.J. Penn earlier this year.
Meanwhile, Hendricks was a former two-time NCAA champion wrestler still earning his stripes in the UFC, but after Saturday night he earned a few more.
Fitch came out ready to engage in the stand-up, but it backfired in a hurry.
Hendricks threw one punch, a straight left hand down the pipe and it crashed into Fitch’s jaw and it sent him falling flat to the mat.
Before Fitch could fully land, Hendricks was already on top and landed on more punch as referee Steve Mazzagatti rushed in for the stoppage. A woozy and dazed Jon Fitch woke up and asked what happened, but as he saw on the replay he got knocked out cold.
If he was an underdog before the fight, Hendricks showed that he can absolutely go with the best of the best in the welterweight division and he only needed one punch to prove it.
“What’d I tell everybody? Every interview, I said I have a left hand and everybody’s been counting me out, I knew if I hit him with it, I could lay him out,” Hendricks said.
Lay him out he did.
Undoubtedly, Hendricks will vault into the top ten in the welterweight division, while a disappointed Jon Fitch will close 2011 with two fights and no wins.
“Sorry to all my fans,” Fitch wrote on his Twitter immediately after the fight. “I have let you all down.”
The loss will obviously knock Fitch down the ranks, but for a veteran fighter it’s just back to the drawing board and the idea is to come back stronger. Johny Hendricks however has just put the welterweight division on notice that there’s a new sheriff in town and he’s gun slinging.