UFC top welterweight contender Johny Hendricks is still holding out hope that his next fight will be for the title. Hendricks said he'd sign up for a non-title fight, but has no interest in fighting Jake Shields, whose recent Twitter challenge Hendricks found amusing.
Hendricks said Monday on The MMA Hour broadcast with host Ariel Helwani:
"I laugh. He doesn't advance my cause at all. My cause is to be a number one contender. I think he was 2-2 in the UFC at 170. What he's trying to do, I don't blame him. I have a target on my back. And I like that position. But I just want the belt in my hand."
Hendricks hopes to face Georges St-Pierre next, though he won't necessarily refuse a different opponent:
"Saying I don't want anything less [than a title shot] is not a disrespect to anyone else, but you see the light at the end of the tunnel, and then someone tries to send you a curveball. But if there's someone else I have to fight, I leave that to my manager and Joe Silva...But I'm really, really hoping that it's GSP, maybe in April, maybe in May. We'll see."
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Shields' tweet, since deleted but available here, advised Hendricks to "quit crying...and fight me next" after Hendricks expressed disappointment over being leapfrogged for the title shot despite three straight wins against top contenders.
St-Pierre purportedly told the UFC he preferred to face Nick Diaz next. Diaz is suspended and will be available to fight in February. In his last bout, Diaz lost to Carlos Condit, whom St-Pierre defeated at UFC 154.
Hendricks said he would blame St-Pierre, not the UFC, if Diaz gets the nod:
"GSP came to them...Give me that shot. If I win, awesome. And they can still fight. If I lose, then they can still fight."
Hendricks dismissed the idea that Diaz's persistent taunting of St-Pierre (and the presumably high level of interest their grudge match would create) justifies Diaz receiving the fight:
"[Diaz] is on suspension and I'm actually fighting to get my title shot. I'm more mad at GSP for calling somebody else out. I think [GSP] is trying to stay away from me. What other reason is there? I've tried to analyze it every other way. Other than that, it would just be because [Diaz] talked trash. But who cares? I train with guys who talk trash to me every single day...Who cares about the past? You have unfinished business? Well, so do I. GSP takes it away from me, so now I have unfinished business with GSP."