Truth be told, St-Pierre claimed to have "left his soul in the Octagon," and by doing so, he convinced two figures even more pertinent than White—judges Sal D'Amato and Tony Weeks—that he nipped Hendricks.
Seconds after White claimed he only awarded St-Pierre the third round, the bruised and battered welterweight linchpin grabbed the microphone, and in an uncharacteristically emotional tone, he said this about the outcome:
"I thought I won three rounds out of five. I thought the last round was the distance of one. I left everything I had. I left it all in the Octagon. People can say whatever they want, (but) it's up to the judges. But I give my best and my hand's up to Johny Hendricks."
White respected the 170-pound champ's effort but adamantly disagreed with St-Pierre's sentiments regarding the decision.
It’s about damage. This is a fight. It’s whoever inflicts the most damage. He got hurt, he got wobbled, he got dropped. Yeah, I’m blown away that Georges St-Pierre won that fight. I’m a promoter. He’s the biggest pay-per-view star on the (f***ing) planet for me, and I still don’t think he won that fight. I want what’s fair, and that wasn't fair. I think the Nevada State Athletic Commission is atrocious. I think the governor needs to step in immediately before they destroy this sport like they did boxing.
Although St-Pierre fought valiantly and once again showed his warrior spirit, he couldn't execute his game plan and arguably dropped four of five rounds to Hendricks, who left the Octagon looking unscathed.
St-Pierre and Hendricks each scored a takedown in the first round, but "Bigg Rigg" outlanded GSP 27 to 26. Hendricks opened a small cut over St-Pierre's right eye when he dropped a series of elbows on his head in a wrestling exchange.
Hendricks found his range early in the second round and cracked St-Pierre with a left hand that put the champ on skates. Bigg Rigg strangely chose to wrestle during St-Pierre's time of duress, a mistake that allowed the ever-durable GSP to recover. Hendricks landed 37 strikes to St-Pierre's 30 in Round 2.
In Round 3, Hendricks scored on one of two takedown attempts, but the champ outstruck him 32 to 22. Thirty-one of GSP's strikes landed in the round were significant strikes.
Hendricks stormed back in the last two rounds and outlanded St-Pierre a combined 56 to 37 in those stanzas, including 41 to 24 in the fourth. GSP nailed two of three takedown attempts in the fifth round but didn't manage to advance position or threaten the challenger.
When the lights dimmed, however, D'Amato and Weeks controversially believed that St-Pierre—who notched three takedowns, surrendered two and got outstruck 142 to 125—did enough to retain his belt.
Regardless of the decision, GSP expressed satisfaction regarding what could have been his last appearance in the Octagon.
"People bash about me all the time about the fight. Oh, 'He go to decision.' But man, I give my best. I did the best I could do. I went all out, all out with no regret. I don't regret anything tonight. I gave everything. I left my soul in the Octagon tonight."
All stats gathered via FightMetric.com.