UFC 167 is fast approaching and now, with less than two weeks to go, the UFC’s media and hype blitz for the event is in full swing.
In lead up to the November 16th card in Las Vegas, the promotion’s long reigning welterweight Champion, Georges St. Pierre, believes that his title match with number one challenger Johny “Bigg Rigg” Hendricks, is likely to be the toughest of his career and one that “Rush” is taking very seriously.
GSP knows that Hendricks has great wrestling and power, but nonetheless, Rush believes that he’s the best in the world and he’s going to re-prove the case at UFC 167.
In terms of Bigg Riggs skill set, Rush isn’t afraid of it and more to the point, he believes he better than Hendricks “everywhere”. Further, St. Pierre believes he’s the best in the world at “not getting hit” and that he can “take a punch”.
Regarding the first point, Rush has a point. Rarely in his career has the champ ever been caught and he’s never been dominated in a fight. The only examples that can be found of Rush failing in the Octagon, would be the Matt Hughes and Matt Serra fights, and even then, they were not dominating defeats. Other than those two matches and a few brief moments in them, Rush has owned every fighter he’s ever taken on and defeated the all, convincingly.
As to his ability to take a punch or even better yet, a kick, Rush has proven that he can take one. In his bout with Carlos Condit, the champ was caught cleanly by a Condit (high) kick to the head and it immediately dropped GSP to the mat. However, Rush was able to collect himself while on the ground and successfull muted Condit’s (in the guard) attack, and quickly worked his way back to his feet.
As such, and on these two points, Rush has demonstrated throughout his career that not only is he hard to hit and control, but that he can (also) take a heavy shot in a fight and withstand it.
However, Bigg Rigg is a new test of the champ’s abilities in these areas and he’s one of the few fighters in the division that (many) fans believe could actually beat the champion. Beyond that, Hendricks brings something into the ring against GSP that few have brought before, and that’s confidence; Bigg Rigg is, if nothing else, supremely confident in his abilities. Of course, the corollary to that statement is that Rush is an extremely confident fighter, too. As such, the champ sees this fight as a clash between competing confidences.
However and as GSP states, “There’s a thin line between confidence and arrogance” and as such, the champ will be looking to test that line on the 16th, and in a battle of which fighter is justified in their belief and which is not.
As to the particulars of the exam that Rush will be setting for Johny, it will be one that queries him on his wrestling, chin and Jiu Jitsu, and one that is apt to be conducted in a master class on cardio conditioning.
In synopsis, this is a fight that fans are going to love and one that comes with all the thrills and dangers of a long running champion possibly losing a title. As there is no question that Bigg Rigg can turn out GSP’s lights and that the champ only wants to fight the best challengers he can, the only true guaranteed winner out of this fight are the fans. Under no conditions can they lose in a match between George St. Pierre and Johny Hendricks. The bout is apt to be an epic struggle for control of the welterweight belt.