After a devastating knockout that sent Martin Kampmann to the Octagon mat out cold in a mere :46 seconds at UFC 154, Johny Hendricks (14-1, MMA) wants to get his shot at the UFC welterweight title. However, one thing is looming over his head and ability to achieve the goal he’s been after since he started a career in MMA; the possibility that a super fight between UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre and UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva goes down.
UFC President Dana White has already said that he’d make the fight happen. It’s quite possible it could get booked in May 2013 and happen in the Dallas Cowboys mega-stadium. If the super fight does happen, what happens to the man who could be next in line for a title shot in the welterweight division?
Johny told MMA Fight Corner on Tuesday night why St-Pierre should challenge him next and not Silva.
“Well I’m not as good as Anderson, but I believe I have what it takes to beat GSP. I’m a wrestler, I’ve been wrestling since I was five. And, they say that’s what GSP is the strongest at and also I have knockout power. I can lay anybody out at any given moment. The only thing is that sometimes I like to fight, just because I like to fight. You know what I mean? I don’t like to end it fast. And sometimes I go in there and I know I have to make a statement and I know I have to do something to put myself above everybody else and that’s sort of what happened with Kampmann.”
This past weekend at UFC 154, GSP looked back his ol’ self, able to take down Carlos Condit at will. While a wrestler at Oklahoma State University, Hendricks was a NCAA four-time All-American and a three-time Big 12 conference champion. When Johny was asked if he thought St-Pierre could take him down, he said:
“No. No, I don’t. I’ve wrestled all my life and if I really wanted to I could go into a fight and take him down. I just haven’t had the thrill of wanting to take somebody down. For some reason, just hitting someone in the face is a lot more exciting to me, and also to the crowd.”
Since the Kampmann fight, Johny explained people have tweeted to him that his left hand has been figured out. While even Johny admitted that his power left shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, he described himself as a wrestler who has evolved into a striker. “My wrestling is my strongest attribute. People want to think that I’m a striker, but no, I’m really a wrestler that just learned how to implement his striking ability.”
If St-Pierre does sign on for the challenge of a lifetime and decides to fight Silva, Hendricks would like to see the UFC have another interim title so that the division isn’t held up again. And of course, his hope is he’d be the first person they call to compete for that title.
“I want a belt. It doesn’t matter what I fight for, or who I fight. I want a shot at the belt. And I know that if I get the interim belt, it doesn’t mean anything to me, I want to beat GSP. But if I get a shot at the interim belt, I’m going to take it. And that’s what it really boils down to, is that if GSP moves up and he goes 185, cool. And I understand why he’d want to do that and I think there might be an interim belt. I don’t know, but really, the reason why I think there might be is because the 170 class has been on hold for 8-9 months now, right? And then you hold it…another 15-16 months. And then, you think that the defending [interim title holder] getting a shot at GSP is at least another 5 months after that. So, you’re looking at another 20 or 19 months. I’m not counting the Carlos Condit one, but just one fight out of 20 months for a 170 class belt, I think that’s just holding up our division,” Hendricks stated.
For now, Hendricks feels that he is the clear number one contender. He’s decided to sit patiently and wait for his opportunity to fight for the championship. “This sport, you’re only as good as your last fight. I think the last fight put me in title contention and that’s all I can do…And I’m hoping that it stays that way. This sport changes. It’s so crazy. Right now, I told myself that I’m not going to fight until I get a title shot.”