UFC 167 is only days away, November 16, 2013 in Las Vegas, NV and the main event holds one of the most interesting title fights of the year. In the blue corner you have someone who has worked his way up the UFC welterweight division ladder, and in the red corner a champion who has not lost since 2007. Although several top names have challenged the current champion, I personally feel that Johny Hendricks has been the most deserving title contender within the division for some time now.
Johny Hendricks: The rise of a true contender
Hendricks may very well be the man to upset George St-Pierre. “Big Rigg” (15-1) has shown why he is the rightful number one contender in the UFC welterweight division – with impressive outings against Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck, Martin Kampmann, and most recently former title contender Coarlos Condit. Hendricks made his UFC debut against the winner of the Ultimate Fighter season 7, Amir Sadollah. In just twenty-nine seconds Hendricks was able to earn the win via TKO with a left hand that caught Sadollah. That left hand would become recognized, respected and feared.
Having fought in the WEC prior to coming over to the UFC, Hendricks was undefeated. He would continue the trend ten fights into his career before running in to another top competitor in the 170-pound division. December 4, 2010, at the time twenty-six year old Rick “The Horror” Story, took the decision win over Hendricks, which many thought was a upset. Since then, Hendricks has returned to his winning ways, and is currently riding a six-fight winning streak. He is also less than a week away from his long awaited chance at UFC gold.
Many might compare the circumstances between St-Pierre and Hendricks to Ultimate Fighter season four winner, and former UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra. Serra ended up not only winning the Season four of TUF, but also shocked the world when he upset GSP. It was a barrage of strikes which led to the downfall of the Montreal native. We all know Hendricks has punching power coming into this fight – the unorthodox lefty has eight career knockouts, and is able to go three rounds with six decision wins. However, we’ve never seen “Big Rigg” in a five-round fight and we’ve never seen him fight a mixed martial artist such the caliber of “Rush” St- Pierre.
A lot of questions surround whether Hendricks can keep GSP from taking him down, as well as if St- Pierre can avoid the heavy left hand of Hendricks. Will UFC 167 be the host to what some may call another upset in 2013? Or will St-Pierre prove that he is still the greatest welterweight champion ever.