Johny Hendricks truly is one hell of an athlete. The gusto this man brings into the cage is admirable to the fullest, and it has quickly endeared him to a growing legion of fans across the globe. He shows up in solid shape and puts forth offensive efforts constantly.
He can wrestle, he can box, he’s savvy enough to avoid the danger of submissions and as we learned at UFC 158, he can take a huge shot, flush on the chin and keep it moving with little signs of physical angst.
Hendricks is as tough as they come, and while it may not have yielded the results “Bigg Rigg” had hoped for (it was quite obvious he was eyeing the knockout), his decision nod over Carlos Condit erased any doubt that Hendricks is the real deal number one contender to Georges St-Pierre’s title.
Hendricks has now toppled Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck, Martin Kampmann and Carlos Condit—four top-10 ranked welterweights—in succession. That’s an accomplishment no contender has managed in the past. Not even Fitch, during his impressive 8-0 run upon entering the UFC managed to eliminate four top-ranked foes in succession.
Hendricks deserves the title shot and if Dana White lives up to his word, he’ll get it soon enough.
But after witnessing his bout with Condit, one must really ponder: does Hendricks have a legitimate chance at dethroning the champion?
Before you leap to say of course, this is MMA and anything can happen, take into account Hendricks’ strengths and his weaknesses.
He’s a wrestler by trade with iron in his fists. However, is he a superior wrestler in the confines of the cage than GSP? Personally, I don’t believe so. Does he hit harder than St-Pierre? Absolutely, but he’s got to land to put the champion in danger, and St-Pierre is inarguably the most elusive welterweight on the UFC’s roster. It’s extremely difficult to hit GSP with a flush power punch.
In terms of overall diversity, I think Hendricks may be a step behind the champion as well. GSP’s top control, submission game and cardio are noticeably superior to that of Hendricks and his footwork puts every other welterweight on the planet to shame. St-Pierre is also a master of assembling the perfect game plan needed to nullify his opponent’s strengths.
Hendricks has one plan: move forward, throw bombs and if the leather fails to land, shoot the take-down and work from top position.
I think Hendricks is an amazing fighter with a personality that I’m personally drawn to. I think he’ll be around cleaning clocks for years to come. I don’t, however, believe he has the required offensive and defensive depth to become the UFC’s new welterweight champion.
What say you?
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