This past weekend at UFC 162 we saw the UFC Middleweight Championship change hands for the first time in seven years when Chris Weidman knocked out Anderson Silva. On November 16 at UFC 167, Johny Hendricks (15-1) will look to usurp Georges St-Pierre (24-2), who has reigned as champion of the welterweight division since 2007.
While some may find Weidman’s underdog story compelling and inspiring, Hendricks saw two sides of the coin in his triumph over Silva.
“It’s a good thing and a bad thing. The good thing is, there’s a new champion. The bad thing is, we’ve seen [Silva showboat], we’ve seen him – but, just not as bad as he did in this fight.”
At any rate, Silva paid the price when Weidman caught him with a left hand and took full advantage of his opportunity. Perhaps Silva’s killer instinct had fizzled out, or maybe he wanted a break from the pressure of being labelled the ‘Greatest of All Time’ in MMA and constantly defending the title. Either way, Hendricks isn’t expecting any taunting tactics out of St-Pierre. He’s anticipating a war.
Following UFC 162′s jaw dropping title fight, UFC President Dana White told reporters that many people believe that Hendricks is the guy to beat St-Pierre. White also noted that Hendricks has the ability to give GSP trouble since “you can’t take him down and he has sick knockout power.”
Hendricks has been on a 6-fight win streak with the UFC. To earn his title shot he went through several top ranked opponents including Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck, Martin Kampmann and Carlos Condit. To date, he has only one loss in the UFC. Undoubtedly, White’s comments resounded with Hendricks.
“You train, you do everything, you’ve done everything that you could and to know that your boss believes in you that you can beat Georges St-Pierre means everything. That’s just confidence that you can shock the world,” Hendricks said. “The only difference is Georges won’t have his hands down. I want to knock him out, but I want his hands to be up. I want to punch people’s hands and I wanna lay him out the right way.”
From the tale of the tape Hendricks and his training staff have analyzed in advance of fighting GSP, he’s prepared for the wrestling and jabs he knows are coming. But the hardest part for Hendricks, in his own words, is being able to stop it.
On the flipside, “Bigg Rigg” claims to have more power than he’s ever revealed inside the Octagon which he plans to unleash against the champ.
“The only people who know my true power are people that I’ve wrestled and that’s about it. That’s what I’m excited to bring out is that kind of intensity, that kind of power that I haven’t shown the world yet, and I plan to do that in November.”
As he prepares, Hendricks plans to bring in specialized training partners to enhance his skill set. Most of his training will take place at his alma mater, Oklahoma State University, where he was a champion and 4-time All American wrestler. There he will work to make certain his wrestling is on par to be able to defend and avoid the double leg takedowns that St-Pierre so flawlessly executes. Aside from polishing the weapons he already has in his arsenal, Hendricks believes only a few “tweaks” are needed to be able to fight to the best of his abilities.
Also, for the first time in three years, St-Pierre will defend his title outside of his native Canada. While Johny said he’d fight St-Pierre anytime, anywhere, having a venue where the majority of the crowd isn’t rooting against you, can’t hurt.
Though the physical gameplan is clear, Hendricks looks to build a winning mentality. After all, dethroning a dominant champion like St-Pierre is something he realizes will be no easy feat.
“That’s the hardest part is stepping in against a guy who’s had the belt since forever ago. The most important thing is that I believe that’s my belt. He’s just holding onto it for me.”
The battle for the UFC Welterweight Championship will take place in Las Vegas, Nevada at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on November 16.
Listen to the full interview with Johny Hendricks here:
interesting! Cant wait to see this after what happened last week.
Nice article, although I fail to see how Silva’s label of ‘The Greatest Of All Time’ has changed since the Weidman fight. Who is the greatest of all time now? Weidman? lmao If so then labels are kind of meaningless aren’t they
While I do believe that Hendricks poses a serious threat to GSP, I can’t help but predict that GSP will avoid the giant left hand by cutting angles and using his superior footwork. If Georges can avoid the bomb for the first 3 rounds, his conditioning will start to become a factor, eventually wearing Hendricks down. Once Hendricks has been outpointed and discouraged we could see GSP try to take the fight to the ground and work a submission or TKO via elbows. GSP is a tactician and it’s been a while since he’s fought someone that wasn’t a submission threat on the ground so he’ll likely mix it up as he often does, peppering Hendricks with that Jab and then going for the shoot once Johnny is exhausted. Proving once again that he’s the best wrestler in the UFC.