GSP's Next Fight: Keys to Victory for Johny Hendricks

Jordy McElroyCorrespondent IMarch 18, 2013

Johny Hendricks - Esther Lin/MMAFighting
Johny Hendricks - Esther Lin/MMAFighting

It's out of the oven and into the frying pan for Johny Hendricks.

After a hard fought victory over Carlos Condit at UFC 158, he is now set to face Georges St-Pierre for the welterweight title.

From a pure stylistic perspective, Hendricks presents a lot of problems for St-Pierre. His jarring knockout power, aggression and world class wrestling potentially spells doom for the greatest welterweight title run in UFC history.

With that said, St-Pierre is the champion for a reason. There is no fighter currently competing at 170-pounds capable of beating him in a technical battle.

To defeat St-Pierre, Hendricks has to stay in his face and force him into wild exchanges. St-Pierre is an incredibly smart fighter. He isn't going to linger in the pocket any longer than he has to be and trade punches.

Hendricks has to push forward and hope his takedown defense is enough to fend off St-Pierre's wrestling. If Hendricks can remain aggressive and fend off takedowns, a knockout victory is in the cards for him.

Unlike Condit, St-Pierre rarely puts together more than a two-punch combination. His entire game plan is predicated on setting up the takedown. He typically sits on the outside and uses a highly effective jab to open opponents up before changing levels and snagging a double.

Hendricks can't allow himself to become stagnant and get picked apart in the open by St-Pierre's speed and athleticism.

One concern for Hendricks is the amount of energy exerted from his particular style of fighting. He won't survive five rounds trudging forward and winging haymakers. When it comes to conditioning, St-Pierre is second to none.

Hendricks can't afford a cardio meltdown like he had against Condit, who nearly rallied for a comeback late in the fight. He needs to be aggressive but also remain selective with his power shots. 

The chances of an upset are abnormally high, and Hendricks is more than capable of pulling off the impossible. Unfortunately, fans have heard these same sentiments time and time again with Josh Koscheck, Thiago Alves, Jake Shields and Nick Diaz.

Yet, they all fell to St-Pierre.