Johnny Hendricks is a confident fighter, to say the least. His next bout is November 16th (UFC 167) in Vegas and for the 170 pound welterweight belt. His opponent is and of course, the reigning divisional Champion Georges St. Pierre.
Rush is not only the most accomplished and dominant champion the division has ever seen, but he’s also and hands down, the best pound-for-pound MMA wrestler the sport has ever known. He is to taking fighters down and controlling them, what Anderson Silva is to stand-up fighting. Simply put, there is and never has been, anyone as good at takedowns as GSP.
However, this doesn’t seem to worry “Big Rigg”. Hendricks’s intention for this fight is to bring both his heavy left hand and its (ugly) sister the heavy right to this bout and touch either to GSP’s chin. In a nutshell, that seems to be the plan and if that doesn’t work, to take the champ down and beat him up.
In comparing himself to Rush, Hendricks stated:
“He’s a jab guy and a takedown guy. He’s going to lay on top of ya as long as he can. He’s going to try and control the clock. He’s going to try and get me as tired as he can and as quickly as possible. That’s Georges…me on the other hand, you don’t know. Am I going to knock you out? Am I going to take ya down? Am I going to let you back up to your feet? I know I can take Georges down and I know I can keep him off my legs.”
Regarding Big Rigg’s assessment of GSP's offense, I’d have to agree.
As to his answer for GSP’s style and the belief that he can take Rush down and in turn prevent Georges from doing the same to him, I’d say good luck on that one. Even Josh Koscheck, who I think is the best pure wrestler in the division and maybe all of the UFC, couldn’t prevent the champ’s takedown. More importantly, GSP is impossible to keep on the bottom. The amount of time Rush has spent on his back defending himself is of miniscule consideration and not apt to be a problem that Hendricks and his limited ground-game will be able to solve. As he had no answer for Condit when he had CC on his back, but rather spent all of his time fending off the “Natural Born Killer’s” submissions, likewise, I don’t think he’ll have anything for GSP on the ground.
Big Rigg could well win this fight and if he does, it will be in the open ring and while backing the champ up. What he will not do, is beat Rush up against the cage or on the ground. It’s an all or nothing proposition on the feet for Hendricks and in open territory; otherwise he will be jabbed to death and taken down at will.
As a GSP fan I look forward to the fight, but with trepidation. Hendricks is a serious challenge to the champ’s belt, of that, no one can deny. Hendricks is hungry, motivated and talented. Should he beat Rush I won’t be shocked, but if he does it will be on the feet not on the ground and Big Rig should give up that whole notion of taking on GSP in a ground war and simply focus on becoming more comfortable with his right and ensuring that he can go 5 hard rounds, because the champ most certainly can.