The balance of power in the welterweight division endured a major shake-up at UFC 141 on Saturday night.
Hendricks had been a two-time NCAA Division I wrestling champion at Oklahoma State University. He landed a crushing overhand left in the first round that sent Fitch crashing to the canvas.
Fitch is called a zombie for his ability to withstand significant damage and bounce back. There was no coming back for the former UFC title contender this time.
Hendricks followed up with one final ground shot. That put the nail in the coffin of one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
"The media said that I had no chance. They had said I had no chance, but ever since it first started, I told them that I at least had a puncher's chance," said Hendricks at the post-fight press conference.
The good Lord blessed me with a left hand, and I put it on him. He's a tough fighter. I knew it was gonna be a three-round (fight). That's what I trained for, that's what I prepared for, and the good Lord blessed me with a knockout.
With the win, Hendricks enters his name on the contender's list for a possible crack at UFC gold.
Fans are currently infatuated with world-class welterweight strikers Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit, but people shouldn't sleep on Hendricks as a future contender.
Along with heavy hands, he has one of the most decorated wrestling pedigrees in the entire division. Hendricks has the potential to grind out bouts, but he also has the ability to end fights at any moment on the feet.
His style is reminiscent of that of former contender Josh Koscheck.
At only 28years old, Hendricks has the skill set to make some serious noise in the welterweight division, and his performance against Fitch just put the rest of the 170-pounders on notice.
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