UFC welterweight contender Johny Hendricks isn't happy that Nick Diaz will be fighting divisional champion Georges St-Pierre for the belt at UFC 158, but that didn't stop him from taking a high-profile bout on the same card.
Although he could've sat on the sidelines until the middle of next year and waited for a title, "Big Rigg" told MMA Fighting why he decided to stay active and fight Jake Ellenberger instead:
"(I) just have to win and GSP has nowhere to hide from me," he said via text message. "Man, he's scared. That's why he wants me to keep fighting because maybe I'll lose and then he won't have to retire (before fighting me)."
Hendricks indicated that he can force GSP into an early retirement after their fight or perhaps that "Rush" may even retire before having to fight him.
The heavy handed wrestler enters the critical March contest on a five fight win streak, including knockout victories over perennial contenders Jon Fitch and Martin Kampmann.
St-Pierre explained his stance on the matter in an interview with MMA Junkie, arguing that Diaz is the opponent fans want to see him fight and even stating that the Stockton, California native is the true number one contender:
"This fight has been waiting to happen for a long time," St-Pierre said. "It's the big fight. That's what people want to see..."I believe Diaz is No. 1 ranked. The guy has been there for a long time. He took out a great name (in B.J. Penn). His fight with Condit is very controversial. For some people, he won the fight. For some people, he lost. Hendricks, when he fought Koscheck, personally I would have given the fight to Koscheck…I speak with my heart, and that's what I believe. I would have given Koscheck that fight, even though I don't like Koscheck."
Diaz is serving a Nevada State Athletic Commission issued suspension for testing positive for marijuana metabolites after UFC 143, where he lost a controversial decision to Carlos Condit.
Meanwhile, Hendricks defeated Josh Koscheck at UFC on FOX 3 in May in another hotly contested decision.
St-Pierre head coached opposite Koscheck on season 12 of The Ultimate Fighter and has defeated him twice by decision in his career.
Both GSP vs. Diaz and Hendricks vs. Ellenberger were announced for UFC 158 at The Ultimate Fighter Season 16 Finale Saturday night, which features a third pivotal match up at 170-pounds in Rory MacDonald vs. Carlos Condit.
Did Hendricks make the right call in accepting a difficult fight to prepare himself for showdown for St-Pierre or was he better off waiting on the sidelines until the UFC called his number?