In the non-negotiations for a possible Georges St-Pierre vs. Anderson Silva superfight, No. 1 welterweight contender Johny Hendricks is the odd man out.
Despite a 9-1 UFC record with wins over the division's best 170-pound fighters, Hendricks isn't considered the next in line to challenge for GSP's title. At least, not if you ask the champion's training staff.
According to Firas Zahabi, St-Pierre's head trainer, former Strikeforce champion Nick Diaz is the one who deserves the next shot at the UFC welterweight championship belt due to having "more fights" and "bigger wins" in his career.
Famed MMA nutritionist Mike Dolce, who worked with Hendricks for his UFC 154 match this month, doesn't agree with Zahabi at all. During an interview with MMA Junkie, he heavily criticized the notion that Diaz deserved a title shot over Hendricks:
Nick hasn't beaten anybody substantial in the welterweight division to earn that shot. Nick certainly will be in line soon. He's got to get a couple of wins. Johny's got those wins already.
I'm looking at Nick's record right now. He beat K.J. Noons, a 155-pounder; Evangelista 'Cyborg' (Santos), and who is he? Then Paul Daley—all right, Paul Daley's tough. Then B.J. Penn, a very uninspired B.J. Penn, who's a lightweight. He beat two lightweights, one very fringe welterweight, and Paul Daley.
Dolce further claimed that Hendricks posed a much bigger threat to GSP than anyone else in the division, pointing out the fighter's wins over Josh Koscheck, Mike Pierce, Jon Fitch, and most recently, a stunning first-round knockout win over the iron-jawed Martin Kampmann.
Additionally, Dolce suggested that GSP's camp is more fearful of Hendricks than Diaz and that Zahabi's claim was made not for the bigger PPV draw, but the safer fight:
He'll make a little bit more money if he fights Nick Diaz – but he's not going to make a lot more money if he fights Nick Diaz. He will make a lot more money if he fights Anderson Silva. So it's not about the money. It's about protecting his belt. He thinks he can beat Nick Diaz – they don't think they can beat Johny Hendricks. And I agree.
Dolce has worked with many UFC fighters over the years, using his patented "Dolce Diet" to help several athletes cut large amounts of weight before bouts. Prior to UFC 154, Dolce claimed that Hendricks cut a whopping 41 pounds before hitting the scales, which marked his third time working with the "Team Takedown" star.