Three weeks from now the welterweight division could go in one of two different directions. It may witness another title defense from its dominant champion or it could be shaken up by the KO power of the challenger. Georges St-Pierre squares off with number one contender Johny Hendricks for the welterweight championship on Sat. November 16th in Las Vegas. There are a lot of questions going into the fight. Both fighters have strong wrestling skills, will GSP try to take Hendricks down? Can Hendricks defend the takedowns? Or will Hendricks land a shot that will forever put his name in history?
BJPENN.COM’s Sean McClure brought up some of these questions along with a few others when he spoke with Hendricks.
When asked if he thought GSP would attempt any takedowns, Hendricks referred to one of Pierre’s fights from the past to answer,
“Yeah I do, I really do. You know a really good example is what he did to Matt Serra. Matt Serra has knock out power, he knew it and he went in there and he pretty much bull rushed him to get him to the cage, take him down, and try to start wearing him down. And that was his whole game plan. So I’m sort of going in there, I have a couple of ideas as the way this fights going to start out. And I’m excited to see which one [it is]”.
It’s interesting that Hendricks choose to use the second Serra fight as an example. Everyone knows how the first fight ended and a lot of people predict Hendricks could shock the world in a similar fashion.
He fought Carlos Condit in a title elimination fight back in March, a fight that ended with Hendricks’ hand being raised via unanimous decision. Hendricks has been waiting for his shot at the champ for a while,
“There are two things, one I am super excited I got the fight, ok, but what I do know is that I can’t let that affect anything. You know what I’m saying? I have to stay focused on what I need to do … like right now I have three more weeks and in those three weeks I can get a lot done”.
Hendricks’ training camp for GSP has been his longest to date. He’s not letting the extra time go to waste. Three weeks out from the fight and he’s still looking to improve and fine tune things before he faces off with the welterweight champ.
St-Pierre made news a while back when made comments suggesting he might retire after his fight with Hendricks. That notion was then quickly put down by GSP’s camp. Hendricks took those comments as a sign of healthy respect. He thinks GSP knows exactly what kind of fight he’s got himself into,
“This was a fight that he knew, and I think that’s why he took that fight before I got my title shot, I mean I think that’s why he took that other fight, because he wanted to make sure he came back 100 percent, you know what I mean? And that’s what I wanted too. I wanted to make sure that I fight the best GSP and I don’t want any excuses, you know what I mean? I want to make sure that this guy comes in here 100 percent and ready to fight for 25 minutes. That is what I want from GSP”.
It’s interesting to follow the lead up to this championship fight, given that there has been little to no trash talk between the two fighters. In a world where one man (*cough* McGregor) has been in back and forth name calling fights with two different fighters in the span of a few days, it’s refreshing to see two top-level competitors let their skills do the talking,
“You know what, he’s a nice guy, he is, and it might be the wrestler in me, but man there’s just no reason to [trash talk]. You know everybody I’ve fought with, pretty much I would say 95 percent of the people, I could go have a beer with after the fight, you know what I mean? And that might be the wrestler in me, win or lose, win or lose; you know if I lose, man I’ll be pissed, yeah of course, but if he came up to me and said ‘hey want to have a beer together’, I’d be like yeah, you know it sucks but you’re buying since you won. You know what I mean? And that’s sort of the way my mentality is and I think that’s been bred through wrestling”.
So we’ll just have to wait and see who buys who the beer. UFC 167 takes place Saturday November 16th.