Georges St-Pierre vs. Johny Hendricks Head-to-Toe Breakdown
In the aftermath of UFC 158, the very two best welterweights in the world are on a crash course to meet sometime later this year.
Long-time champion Georges St-Pierre and rising star Johny Hendricks make for a great matchup for one of the most prolific titles in the sport.
For GSP, knocking off Hendricks will ultimately allow him to leave the division with no unfinished business and make a smooth transition to fight Anderson Silva in 2014.
For Hendricks, a guy who has literally blasted his way up the welterweight ladder, landing one of his infamous left hands could spell disaster for the sport's most popular athlete.
Here's how the initial head-to-toe breakdown pans out. Enjoy.
There's really no comparison on the feet when it comes to precision and marksmanship.
Georges St-Pierre is the more polished athlete and the more versatile striker, so it's sort of unfair to pin Johny Hendricks against him in this facet of the fight.
The bottom line is that GSP seems to evolve fight by fight. He has shown the ability to stand with powerful strikers and outscore the more technical ones, like Nick Diaz.
You also have to consider that the champ possesses the ability to sling head kicks, superman punches, spinning back kick and more at any point in a fight. Hendricks just isn't on that tactical level.
What do you think I'm going to say?
Johny Hendricks is arguably the biggest puncher to ever grace the UFC welterweight division. With devastating power in both hands, especially his left, "Bigg Rigg" can put any opponent to sleep at the drop of a hat.
He's been so prolific at doing so that any other means of victory seems like a disappointment.
In any case, Georges St-Pierre has showcased an average chin in the past. Nothing special, nothing unbeatable, just an average chin that's susceptible to punishment.
If Hendricks can time it right and land one of his knockout blows, GSP's reign as the welterweight king will be over quicker than Joe Rogan can say, "He's rocked!"
MAJOR ADVANTAGE: HENDRICKS
This aspect of the fight is where it really gets interesting. It's the part of the fight that will either spell victory or defeat for either man.
The fact of the matter is that Johny Hendricks possesses such a formidable recipe to stop Georges St-Pierre because his wrestling is so good.
By utilizing great takedowns and takedown defense, Hendricks can then keep the champ on his feet and look to throw knockout blows.
In St-Pierre's case, once he's in trouble against Hendrick's raw power, he'll look to bring the fight to the ground and score points by the bunch. It's a game plan that GSP has mastered in the past, but never against an established wrestler like Hendricks.
But considering GSP will be looking to take Hendricks down more often than Hendricks will be trying to take him down, "Rush" gets a slight nod.
SLIGHT ADVANTAGE: ST-PIERRE
From what we witnessed at UFC 158, Johny Hendricks has one hell of a chin to go along with his dangerous power.
That combination is deadly for any opponent looking to step inside the Octagon with the power wrestler, especially a guy like Georges St-Pierre who has showcased a suspect chin in the past.
GSP just doesn't seem capable of going toe-to-toe with Hendricks, nor does he stand a chance to withstand bombs from the bottom.
So based on the ability to withstand shots from all directions, standing and in guard, Hendricks takes the cake.
With the idea of moving up to challenge Anderson Silva looming in the distance, Georges St-Pierre may actually carry less momentum heading into this fight than Johny Hendricks does.
Hendricks has been on an absolute tear in the welterweight division, stopping veterans like Jon Fitch and Martin Kampmann in their tracks.
Now while his fight with Carlos Condit was extremely close, minus the takedowns, he poses a bigger threat to GSP than Condit did back at UFC 154. St-Pierre, on the other hand, continues to be unable to finish opponents and seems more interested in moving up than defending his title for another few years.
With that said, momentum only plays a minor role when it comes to a fighter's intangibles. That word can be defined a thousand different ways. From being able to rebound from big shots to having the ability to pull off devastating maneuvers, possessing readily available intangibles can be identified various ways.
But in this case, you'll have to go with the champion. GSP has done what he's needed to do in the past to win, so to think he couldn't do that now would be ill-advised.
SLIGHT ADVANTAGE: ST-PIERRE
It's really hard to pick a winner in this fight.
Johny Hendricks seemingly has all the tools to finish Georges St-Pierre, take his title and reign as champion for the next few years.
But we've seen in the past that GSP has stopped top contenders in their tracks that were supposed to have the right stuff to beat him. Why would Hendricks be any different?
It depends. Hendricks has a unique skill set that really plays into his ability to stop athletic guys like St-Pierre. His wrestling is good enough to keep the fight standing or allow him to get back up when he's taken down, and his power is good enough to knock out GSP at any time.
At this point it's truly up in the air. It wouldn't surprise anyone if St-Pierre retained the title and it wouldn't surprise anyone if Hendricks' divisional rise resulted in UFC gold.
But if one guy had to be picked, which is the case here, I'm always going to go with the guy who can stay on his feet and end a fight with one punch.
VERDICT: HENDRICKS VIA KO IN ROUND 2
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