After watching the controversial decision end to the Georges St-Pierre (25-2) vs. Johny Hendricks (15-2) UFC Welterweight Championship fight at UFC 167, company president Dana White was right to call for an immediate rematch.
Unfortunately for White and MMA fans, St-Pierre was hinting at potential retirement, per Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times:
GSP said, "I need to hang up my gloves for a little bit. Some personal things. Thank you, I'm very emotional." #UFC167— Lance Pugmire (@latimespugmire) November 17, 2013
White responded to GSP’s comments about walking away from the sport, via ESPN's Todd Grisham:
A furious Dana White just told me "GSP shouldn't walk away, he owes it to the fans and to the sport to fight Hendricks again"— Todd Grisham (@GrishamESPN) November 17, 2013
The controversy stems from the 48-47, 47-48, 48-47 split-decision outcome of Saturday night’s main event. The bout was incredibly close for all five rounds and could have conceivably gone either way on the judges' scorecards.
There was no decisive winner, but many fighters, like UFC superstars Carlos Condit and Tim Kennedy, vehemently disagreed with the decision:
W T F.... Worst decision EVER— Carlos Condit (@CarlosCondit) November 17, 2013
One guy looks like he got run over by a big rig and the other guy looks like he went for a run. Bad decision. #UFC167— Tim Kennedy (@TimKennedyMMA) November 17, 2013
All of the buzz surrounding the fight’s outcome and GSP’s subsequent retirement makes it clear that this marquee matchup deserves another chapter.
The outcome of the bout may have caused backlash, but the in-ring work during this fight was outstanding.
St-Pierre is unquestionably one of the best wrestlers in the sport. As good as he is, Hendricks had him scouted perfectly and used his challenger’s momentum against him. Add in Hendricks' elite striking, and it become clear that the No. 1 contender was not afraid of the stage, and in fact, he was thriving under the pressure.
GSP was still able to land his standard barrage of offense but was unable to land any devastating shots that would give him an opening he could capitalize on. With Hendricks thwarting everything the champion threw his way, this was a great technical fight.
Even without the controversy that surrounded the judges' decisions, this fight deserved a rematch. The public outcry will ensure it happens, though.
St-Pierre has seen many of the fans that loved him over the years turn on the fighter for his slow and methodical style, and Saturday’s controversial decision victory and his choice to comment on his potential retirement has vilified the champion.
This win marked GSP’s ninth successful title defense in a row. While there is no arguing the utter dominance of his reign as divisional champion, the recent victories during that stretch have come in lackluster fashion.
Would YOU pay to see a GSP vs. Hendricks rematch?
That was until Saturday night.
If St-Pierre decides against taking some time off and he can embrace the role of villain in the next fight with Hendricks, the proposed bout would have the earmarks of an instant classic and would be one of the most anticipated fights in 2014.
White and the MMA world were right to call for a rematch, and this is a second chapter the UFC must make happen.