UFC 158: Don't Be Shocked If GSP Ducks Johny Hendricks for Anderson Silva Fight
Beating Carlos Condit with a decisive win on Saturday will cement Johny Hendricks as the UFC welterweight division's No. 1 contender—but it doesn't mean a thing.
Hendricks can easily be passed over again.
That's the bad part about being the "No. 1 contender" in the UFC: It's an imaginary brass ring that only means something if you're a proven media star or a pay-per-view draw.
Simply put, Hendricks is neither.
Compared to Georges St-Pierre and Nick Diaz, Hendricks isn't even on the same planet, a fact clearly shown by two press conferences this week completely dominated by the headliners.
When GSP and Diaz were in the room, no one cared about Hendricks.
Will Hendricks ever fight GSP?
Although MMA Fighting couldn't get GSP or trainer Firas Zahabi to confirm it, the expected "endgame" plan for the champion's career might entail beating Diaz, then Hendricks, then challenging Silva in a winner-take-all, "loser retires" mega-match.
But if "Rush" actually commits to the idea of battling "The Spider" in a long-anticipated superfight, Hendricks may as well not even exist.
That's really all it would take.
It wouldn't matter if Hendricks broke Condit's jaw, landed the fastest KO in UFC history or put on a "Fight of the Year" performance in a thrilling decision win.
Despite anything Hendricks does, Anderson Silva will always be the bigger, more lucrative option—and with the dangerous skill set that "Bigg Rigg" possesses, it may actually be smarter for St-Pierre and his team to just skip that match.
After all, which would GSP's camp be more likely to risk—an upset loss to a randomly strong welterweight, or a defeat to the Greatest Fighter of All Time?
As long there's an agreeable weight limit, Silva would likely have no qualms about the payday.
Don't think for a second that Dana White would stick to his word and give Hendricks the next match over Silva, either—especially if there was a guaranteed "1 million sold" pay-per-view superfight at Dallas Cowboys Stadium on the line.
With all of those pieces to play, Hendricks just doesn't matter.
He's not going to add more buys to a PPV, and even worse, he let his co-main event get ignored during the most important part of fight week.
Hence, Hendricks has given little reason to say his fight matters.
Maybe that's unfair to someone who's put together such an impressive run at 170 pounds.
But at the end of the day, it's really his own fault. Hendricks doesn't want to talk trash or physically confront St-Pierre. He's a morally admirable guy.
Still, that's also why Diaz got a shot at the UFC welterweight title while the higher ranked, more deserving fighter is fighting his third "No. 1 contender" bout.
McKinley Noble is an MMA conspiracy theorist and tech writer. His work has appeared in GamePro, Macworld, PC World, 1UP, NVision, The Los Angeles Times, FightFans Radio, MMA Mania and Bleacher Report. Talk with him on Twitter.
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