More than three months ago, The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) planned its 20th anniversary treat for the fans; George St. Pierre (GSP) and Johnny Hendricks will clash in Las Vegas for the UFC 167 main event. GSP was confident that he could outpunch his challenger, Hendricks, a very powerful stand-up fighter. Giving a strong statement that he is not impressed with Hendricks’ grappling skills, St. Pierre went on by saying “I want to fight the best guy, I think it’s Johnny Hendricks right now.”
Last Sunday, November 17, 2013, was a disappointment for the followers of both GSP and Hendricks when the fight was taken to a decision. Weeks before the fight happened, GSP fans were quick to say that it will be an obvious win for the welterweight champion. And why not? GSP is a striker who can evade punches and one of the most difficult fighter to hit. But Hendricks is a one-round knock out artist who can switch the lights out of GSP.
Hendricks proved to the UFC promoters he has the ability to snatch a belt from anyone in his weight category. And he delivered exactly what he told the press except that the judges favored GSP’s significant strikes (that are not really capable of stopping the challenger) over Hendricks jabs that are enough to re-arrange the face of the French-Canadian karateka.
So while everyone was waiting for GSP’s usual striking combination to finally say goodnight to his opponent, Hendricks was the one busy keeping the distance and avoiding the champ’s takedown attempts. It’s been a long time since GSP finished a fight via knockout, while Hendricks’ habit is to finish a fight and not leave the decision to the judges.
After the tiring five rounds of action, the UFC judges gave it to GSP while the audience reacted in dismay. Johnny Hendricks knew in his heart that he beat the champion, and the testament to that are the marks of his brutal strikes on GSP’s face. A rematch will not happen soon as GSP announced his wish to take a long vacation. Because of the power and level of skill that Hendricks demonstrated, MMA fans could only expect that UFC middleweight division fighters will elevate their training to a higher level if they want to take a chance on a title belt, and this includes Lyoto Machida who recently knocked out the Filipino Wrecking Machine, Mark Muñoz.