On Saturday Night at UFC 158, Georges St Pierre dispatched the challenge of Nick Diaz while Johny Hendricks won a decision over Carlos Condit in a bout that had the makings of a classic. UFC President Dana White has stated that Hendricks will be the next to challenge St Pierre for the welterweight title. Of course, White may have a Anderson Silva vs Georges St Pierre superfight on his agenda, but when the 170 lb belt is on the line again, it will be Hendricks challenging for it.
St Pierre seems to be featured on the biggest card in November on a yearly basis, though the fight could happen earlier, especially if the Silva talk continues to fizzle. After this past weekend’s performance, the public will likely want to see a St Pierre – Hendricks showdown anyway, as Hendricks game may bring something different out of St Pierre.
Hendricks showed his wrestling ability against Condit getting takedowns at will. He is also stocky and short, and very hard to take down. In the fights St Pierre has had since his return, neither Diaz or Condit really provided much in the way of takedown defense, opting to working from their backs.
Hendricks will not work from his back, or he will likely make it very difficult for St Pierre to get him there. Against both Condit and Diaz, St Pierre got hit and his face shows the marks of the fight. Hendricks is not a guy he wants hitting him, as everything the guy throws is meant to take your head off.
The problem for St Pierre is going to be that he will have to stay away from a stand up game for 25 minutes. Even in the Diaz fight where he took a few blows, St Pierre was not way outclassed and he stood in as long as he was comfortable and then got the takedown. He controlled the fight and that might not work for 25 minutes against Hendricks. How many times can St Pierre take him down and keep him down?
The big question mark is stamina. Hendricks has had a lot of short fights, and no fights that have been scheduled for 5 rounds. He appeared to tire against Condit, and the five rounds against St Pierre should be just as grueling.
Look for St Pierre to open the favorite, and not at 5 to 1 like he did against Diaz. St Pierre is in a fight here!