St-Pierre vs. Hendricks: 4 Key Takeaways from the UFC 167 Main Event
Like it or not, Georges St-Pierre is still the UFC welterweight champion.
Still, the UFC has a show to produce and fights to promote, and after every event, there is a lot to take away. After Johny Hendricks was robbed in Las Vegas, there just happen to be a few more than usual.
Nevada Cannot Be Trusted with Big Fights
This is the most prominent takeaway from UFC 167, and it's both surprising and painfully unfortunate that it has nothing to do with the fights on the card.
To put it simply, the Nevada State Athletic Commission proved with its disastrous performance in scoring the main event that it cannot be trusted to get big MMA fights right anymore.
Nevada used to have the best commission in America, but that time is over. The number of incompetent individuals involved in governing the sport in the state is outright killing it, and the UFC might have to take some events elsewhere for a while until the commission can get itself together.
Georges St-Pierre Might Be Done
Given his quasi-retirement in the cage, GSP probably had some things on his mind other than Johny Hendricks coming into this fight.
That said, he looked horrible in ways he never has before.
He abandoned his wrestling, his boxing was subpar, he wasn't able to avoid the onslaught of the challenger, and he did not look prepared to defend his title.
This marks the second time in three fights that he hasn't been close to dominant, and the other was a hot-and-cold performance that secured him a win over an outmatched Nick Diaz.
This is all coming off a yearlong layoff due to massive knee surgery, which only supports the argument that St-Pierre may not be the dominant force he once was.
It's hard to accept, but the best welterweight of all time might not be the best welterweight of the moment anymore.
Johny Hendricks Can Rise to the Occasion
While he earned his way to a title shot with a 10-1 UFC record and a pile of bodies stacked waist high in his wake, there were signs that Johny Hendricks might falter in a big fight.
He barely beat Carlos Condit at UFC 158. Not long before that, he secured a very uninspired win over Josh Koscheck. His lone loss was to Rick Story, a relative nonfactor in the welterweight division.
But when he was in the Octagon with St-Pierre and the belt was on the line, he put up the fight of his life, and he won it. The judges didn't think so, but everyone else with eyes did.
That's a great compliment for him as an athlete, and it's horrible news for his next opponent. He's going to be fighting with bad intentions.
The Welterweight Division Is in Total Flux
Hendricks is the uncrowned champion.
GSP might be retired, active or both.
Guys like Condit and Robbie Lawler are very much in a title hunt. Rory MacDonald is still young and won't be down for long after his UFC 167 loss. Nick Diaz is still hanging around; he's "retired" but keeping an eye to which guys are speaking his name.
And in all of this, nothing is guaranteed, and no one has any idea what to make of it. Never in the history of the sport has a division been so ripe with talent but in such disarray.
There is literally no way anyone can predict what 170 lbs in the UFC will look like in a week, a month or a year from now.
It's interesting but a little disconcerting too.