Johny Hendricks will be afforded another chance to remind Dana White that he’s more than deserving of a title shot on March 16th, when he meets Carlos Condit in the co-main event of UFC 158.
Hendricks, who turned in a movie-like performance against Martin Kampmann at UFC 154, has now beaten three top-10 ranked foes in succession, stopping two of them in emphatic fashion. He’s tired of battering the division’s best only to be ignored in his lobbying for a bout with champion Georges St-Pierre.
Condit should theoretically be his final test. If Hendricks topples Condit, especially in explosive fashion, it would be downright criminal to deny him a fight with the champ.
But realistically, he may not have too much to worry about. As amazing as Condit is, Hendricks has some unique strengths that should—assuming he fights smart but doesn’t abandon his killer instinct—lead him to victory.
Johny Hendricks holds a major advantage over Carlos Condit in the wrestling department.
Hendricks is bull-like in his attacks, works very, very well form the clinch and has a solid double leg takedown. He’s also crafty in wrestling scrambles.
While Condit does some excellent work at finding the perfect moment to explode and escape from the bottom position, he’ll likely have trouble with Hendricks, as he’s got a noteworthy top game far heavier than the majority of wrestlers at welterweight.
Carlos Condit hits hard, and he’s got a wide array of striking tools to bank on. He’s a power puncher with vicious kicks, and his knees are a marvel to behold—fully capable of ending a fight in the blink of an eye.
However, while Johny Hendricks may not be as dynamic with his striking, he does possess one thing Condit lacks: destructive power in both hands. We’re talking the kind of power that can leave opponents unconscious after absorbing just a single blow.
Condit’s chin is strong. He’s taken some wildly powerful punches to the face and recovered to win fights in the past. But Hendricks is a different animal altogether and may have the heaviest hands in the division.
I’m not wholly convinced Condit simply bounces back from a flush Hendricks bomb.
What bodes well for Johny Hendricks—in the grand scheme of combat, not simply this particular fight—is his ability to take everything he dishes out. This man can take a big shot only to appear completely unfazed.
Carlos Condit himself is rugged, tough as nails and while conscious, never out of a fight.
However, I’m not convinced “The Natural Born Killer” has faced a man with the one-punch knockout power that Hendricks possesses. If “Bigg Rigg” lands early, it could be another shocking finish for the bearded one.
Carlos Condit is a consistent fighter. When he enters the cage, he tends to win.
However, his last outing (which likely only made him a better fighter) against Georges St-Pierre at UFC 154 resulted in defeat, and he now must regain his foothold on the division.
Johny Hendricks in contrast rides a five-fight win streak into this bout, having knocked out perennial contender Jon Fitch in 12 seconds and recently rendering Martin Kampmann motionless on the canvas in 46 seconds. His confidence is at an all-time high.
There isn’t a man in the division (sans the champion) with the momentum Hendricks currently boasts.
Johny Hendricks wasn’t pleased with being bypassed for a title shot. While I’m a major Nick Diaz supporter and love the fact that he’s getting his opportunity to vie for promotional gold, the truth is he didn’t rightfully earn it.
Hendricks however did earn it, convincingly.
He’s been vocal since the news of the GSP/Diaz bout was announced, frequently expressing his displeasure with White’s decision to grant Diaz a title fight over himself.
I expect that growing rage to come into play in this fight. As long as he doesn’t lose control of his emotions, he should bring some channeled anger into the cage that could end up being the deciding factor of the fight.
Johny Hendricks wants an opportunity to toe the line with Georges St-Pierre. That is extremely evident.
With each passing day that Hendricks sits in the shadow of the divisions best, he’s only growing hungrier.
Carlos Condit has had a chance at dethroning the champ. He failed. You can bet Hendricks plans on seizing the moment—when it finally arrives—by introducing GSP’s chin to his profoundly heavy fists.
Follow me on Twitter.