Rising welterweight star Johny Hendricks definitely backed up his claim to the division's top contender spot with his Fight of the Night-winning performance over Carlos Condit on Saturday night.
Utilizing his heavy hands and relentless wrestling to take the unanimous decision, "Big Rigg" was in a bit of trouble at times in the waning minutes of the fight. However, his numerous takedowns and ability to control the former interim champ from the top was enough to earn him the victory.
While he finally has a date with champ Georges St-Pierre in the books (h/t MMA Junkie), many believed that Hendricks was the rightful top contender all along. And looking at his resume, it's not hard to see why.
After mowing over most of the middle of the welterweight division's pack, "Big Rigg" made an emphatic statement when he knocked out former top contender Jon Fitch in just 12 seconds. Following it up with a split-decision win over Josh Koscheck and a 53-second KO of Martin Kampmann, Hendricks did more than enough to earn his shot at the belt.
Of course, that didn't happen, but luckily for "Big Rigg," he did not squander the chance to definitively take the top contender spot. On the contrary, his gutty performance against Condit made Hendricks' case even stronger.
Looking forward, St-Pierre should be a bit worried by the newly minted No. 1 contender. Not only does Hendricks' heavy hands and powerful wrestling pose a threat to the champ, but "Big Rigg" showed that he has an iron chin too after taking some of Condit's best shots.
While I don't know if Hendricks can dethrone St-Pierre, after seeing his war with the Condit, you can believe that "Big Rigg" is going to make for an exciting fight for the champ.
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