Johny Hendricks is a fan favorite in large part because he finishes fights in exciting and resounding fashion. GSP is a fan favorite because prior to his "cautious period" after winning the championship back from Matt Serra, he was aggressive and exciting. Both men are likable and respected by fighters and fans alike.
Prior to his loss to Serra, St. Pierre won 10 of his 13 wins via submission (4) or KO/TKO (6). Since winning back the championship from Serra, GSP has come back with 8 wins, 7 of which were decisions (and a TKO / corner stoppage against BJ Penn). This has led to GSP being criticized as a "Lay n' Pray" specialist. He is unparalleled in controlling where the fight takes place and in dominating his opponent on the ground. This is attributed to his strength and his wrestling. He has worked with the Canadian Olympic Wrestling Team and even considered trying out for the team at one time.
Although he didn't grow up wrestling in high school and college, he has achieved a high level of skill. He has no wrestling pedigree, but on the other hand, all of his wrestling is "MMA wrestling" which is at least as valuable. Regarding his wrestling prowess GSP himself has said that a lot of it is attributable to his karate background. Although this may sound surprising, it has been noted that during his takedowns GSP seems to go right through the opponent. This, he says, is due to effective penetration developed via karate "move in, strike, move out" type drills.
Georges St. Pierre is:
UFC #1 at Takedown's landed: GSP = 84. Hendricks is not on the top 10 list
UFC #1 at Takedown Accuracy = 75 %. Hendricks is not on the top 10 list
UFC #7 at Takedown Defense = 88%. Hendricks is not on the top 10 list
Keep in mind that the last two stats are percentages so it doesn't matter that GSP has been in the UFC longer and has twice as many fights.
Johny Hendricks has an indisputable wrestling pedigree. Hendricks was an Oklahoma state champion 3 times in high school. He also won the 2005 and 2006 NCAA Division 1 wrestling title in the 165 pound division. In college, Hendricks had a 56-1 wrestling record and came in second in the 2007 NCAA championships. Hendricks has a number of other wrestling achievements and accolades.
In MMA, he has relied mainly on his striking and his wrestling has taken a bit of a back seat. Wrestling has allowed Hendricks to strike with relative impunity knowing that he has little to fear in the takedown department. There is no disputing Hendricks wrestling pedigree - but how will it fare in an MMA setting against Georges St. Pierre?
In the BJJ realm there is no question that Georges St. Pierre is more experienced and more highly decorated. This is but a part of overall grappling. While it is difficult to say who will dominate in grappling it would seem that GSP has the advantage.
It is often said that the jab is an under-utilized tool in MMA yet GSP used it to complete neutralize Josh Koscheck. His use of the jab reflects the fact that GSP is one of the most teachable mixed martial artists out there. In fact, when you talk to GSP he will tell you he is not a fighter but rather a martial artist. He lives to grow, change and improve. He has said that Hendricks poses an unusual problem and that he will have a surprise for Hendricks. What will it be?
It seems unlikely that even GSP can come up with a surprise in the wrestling world. More likely GSP has worked on striking in what is for him some novel fashion. It is public knowledge that GSP works with many different experts. Lately he has been training with Muay Thai Master Yod Wilek and Kru Lamsongkram Chuwattana. Expect some surprises in this aspect of MMA.
Georges St. Pierre is:
UFC #1 Total Strikes landed 2398. Hendricks is not on the list
UFC #4 Significant Strike Defense = 75.1%. Hendricks is not on the list
UFC #1 Significant Strikes Landed = 1153. Hendricks is not on the list.
UFC Top 10 Knockdown's landed - neither fighter is on the list
UFC Top 10 Significant Strike Accuracy - neither fighter is on the list
In this video GSP scores 2859 at the Sports Science testing facility.
Hendricks fans will undoubtedly point to the fact that Hendricks is a finisher and GSP is too cautious. A look at their overall record illustrates:
Hendricks in the UFC:
Total Fights = 11;
TKO / KO = 5
UFC Finish rate = 45%
Georges St. Pierre in the UFC:
Total Fights = 21
TKO / KO = 6
Decision = 11
Submission = 4; UFC
UFC Finish rate = 48%