As Dana White announced after UFC on FX: Johnson vs. McCall, the UFC is targeting UFC 152 as the target date to feature the Welterweight Championship bout between George St-Pierre and current Interim Champion Carlos Condit.
White also announced that the number one contender fight would happen on the same card between Johny Hendricks and Martin Kampmann.
But, GSP is coming off one of the most serious injuries an athlete can suffer in a torn ACL, therefore there remains that uncertainty that St-Pierre will be ready by the November fight date. So, if GSP is unable to return by November, who should face interim champion: Hendricks or Kampmann?
Johny Hendricks is coming off back-to-back wins over Jon Fitch and Josh Koscheck, both who are former welterweight number one contenders. Hendricks defeated Fitch with style, knocking him out in only 12 seconds. Against Koscheck, Hendricks wasn't as impressive as the two went toe-to-toe for the entire 15 minutes resulting in a split decision win that some thought to be controversial.
Either way, only George St-Pierre has defeated both Fitch and Koscheck, which makes the feat even sweeter for Hendricks.
Hendricks is 13-1 with wins over Amir Sadollah, T.J. Grant, Charlie Brenneman, Mike Pierce, and the aforementioned Jon Fitch and Josh Koscheck. Hendricks only loss was a decision to Rick Story and Hendricks has showed amazing improvements since that fight.
Has Hendricks done enough to secure a spot as the top contender in welterweight division? One fighter in particular would disagree.
Martin Kampmann continues to wow fight fans with his ability to comeback in fights where it appears he is on the verge of being finished. Earlier this month, Kampmann was rocked by fellow welterweight Jake Ellenberger, but soon gained momentum and finished Ellenberger with a vicious collection of knees.
If GSP Isn't Ready by UFC 152, Who Deserves a Title Shot More?
This wasn't Kampmann's first rodeo though, as he was beaten up and looked like he was on his way to dropping a decision to former title contender, Thiago Alves, before locking in a guillotine with less than a minute remaining in the 3rd round.
Kampmann has a professional MMA record of 20-5 holding wins over Thales Leites, Jacob Volkmann, Paulo Thiago as well as the previously-mentioned Thiago Alves and Jake Ellenberger. Kampmann also holds a controversial split decision victory over current Interim Champion Carlos Condit.
Both men are right on the door step and it's nearly impossible to say one guy deserves over another, but if GSP is unable to compete by November, one of these two men should fight Carlos Condit for the Interim Welterweight Championship, but which one?
Condit has gone on record stating he'd rather face Kampmann to avenge his only loss in the UFC, and I believe that if GSP isn't ready to go, that's the fight we will see at UFC 152. If Hendricks would have finished Koscheck, I'd say Hendricks deserves it, but what it comes down to to me is the two men's last two victories.
Hendricks landed one huge shot and ended his fight with Fitch in 12 seconds, which is great for the fans, but we honestly didn't get to see that fight. If that punch doesn't land, would Hendricks still had been victorious? Comparing that and a close, split decision win over Koscheck with Kampmann's back to back finishes over two of the toughest guys in the welterweight division goes a long way in my book.
As I'm sure you feel the same way, I hope GSP is able to return to the UFC this November, therefore we can crown a true Welterweight Champion as well as crown a true new welterweight number one contender as Hendricks and Kampmann will face-off.