Welcome back one and all, to this part 2 of the UFC 167 main event discussion.
In the first one, we focused on the long reigning champ, Georges St. Pierre. This one would be around the challenger, Johnny Bigg Rigg Hendricks.
If you weren’t following MMA and the UFC, you should know the normal flow of events when it comes to the Welterweight title. Here’s a standard example:
1. New challenger named
2. For weeks/months the hype is that this is GSP’s most dangerous contender yet
3. The man steps in to the octagon, gets beaten by the champ
Lather, rinse, repeat.
Every time, people will say, but this time the contender is really the most dangerous one.
So what’s new?
So far, all of GSP’s opponents have been dangerous. Carlos Condit is a complete fighter with an iron chin, Nick Diaz is a tri-athlet with sick BJJ, Fitch was dominating his opponents before and after GSP, Alves is a gifted striker, Jake Shields may have the best BJJ in UFC, BJ Penn is a legend, Koschek is a great wrestler. So what’s special about Hendricks?
GSP could prepare for any of the above in terms of skills. He’d have the perfect game plan come fight night to nullify all of their advantages and capitalize on where he has the edge.
Bigg Rigg has something that (to paraphrase Joe Rogan) you can’t develop. You either have it, or you don’t. a one punch KO shot. Johnny Hendricks has the ability to knock his opponent out with one left punch.
Now, people will say that Johnny has a puncher’s chance against GSP, meaning he doesn’t have a chance of winning unless he lands that left. But these people forget that Hendricks is also a phenomenal wrestler. That is very important to consider, because GSP uses his wrestling skills, not only to control opponents on the ground, but also to control the fight itself. When GSP can enforce where the fight takes place inside the cage, he’s free to utilize any strategy he wants. If Hendricks can nullify GSP’s edge on that department, it will significantly improve his chances of winning.
Why would Hendricks win this fight?
- Because his left hand… if he can hit GSP with an accurate shot he stands and excellent chance to win the belt.
- Because Hendricks is a phenomenal wrestler who has the skill in that department to limit GSP’s options.
- Because Hendricks – at least so far – showed that he is not intimidated by “big names”. Key to his chance is confidence.
- Because… did I mention his left hand?
So who WILL win?
Every brain cell in my brain says GSP. He is a more well-rounded fighter. More experienced but still in his prime. His conditioning is better and he goes 5 rounds on a regular basis where Hendricks showed some gas tank inefficiencies in 3 round fights.
Yet, that left hand… Would Hendricks catch GSP?
I will go ahead and say no. I don’t think he will. GSP might have worked a lot on skills and conditioning, but if there’s anything we know about GSP is that he works the strategy. I believe he’ll utilize that to avoid Johnny’s left.
Only time will tell how this fight will end (and luckily the time is soon :)).
Let me know what you think! Who wins this?
and of course – TUNE IN TO UFC 167 – NOV 16, 10 PM ET