Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012 | 2 a.m.
UFC 154 coverage
- Georges St. Pierre has reservations about likely fight with Anderson Silva
- UFC 154 blog: Champion St. Pierre reclaims his glory in comeback victory
- UFC 154 weigh-in: All 26 fighters make weight, receive warm welcome
- The new Georges St. Pierre debuts at UFC 154
- UFC 154 breakdown, betting odds and picks
- Martin Kampmann, Johny Hendricks recount training together before fight
- Carlos Condit declares he’s ‘hungrier’ than Georges St. Pierre at UFC 154
- Anderson Silva dismantles another opponent, makes meeting with Georges St. Pierre look inevitable
- UFC coverage
- All MMA/boxing coverage
MONTREAL — Georges St. Pierre famously dropped to his knees five years ago in the octagon and begged for a shot at the welterweight title.
While Johny Hendricks didn’t go quite that far at the Bell Centre after the UFC 154 co-main event Saturday night, the desperation felt the same. Hendricks’ voice nearly cracked as he repeated, “please,” four times in his request for a championship bout against St. Pierre after knocking out Martin Kampmann 46 seconds into their meeting.
Hendricks wants to fight for the welterweight title every bit as badly as St. Pierre did before his second reign at the top began.
“I’ve cleared out the division now and there’s only one more guy I want to fight and he’s at the top,” Hendricks stated his case. “For me personally, until I get that fight, that’s what I’m waiting for.”
Most forecasts point towards Hendricks getting passed over, though. With the UFC hoping it’s on the verge of booking a long-proposed mega-fight between St. Pierre and Anderson Silva, Hendricks appears as nothing more than a backup plan.
It’s a cruel twist of fate for a fighter who’s now won five in a row, including two straight bouts that were billed as title eliminators.
“Of course, I don’t like it,” Hendricks said of Silva vs. St Pierre. “But what can I do? I can go out there and finish fights. That’s all I can do. I made my case. He was a tough fighter. I knew he was going to be. I finished him. Hopefully all that’s left is Georges St. Pierre.”
No one can deny Hendricks deserves his chance against St. Pierre after what he did to Kampmann, a former training partner in Las Vegas who was supposed to provide an even match. UFC President Dana White, perhaps the biggest proponent of St. Pierre fighting Silva, admitted Hendricks had established himself as the top welterweight contender.
Kampmann met the same demise as fighters like Jon Fitch and Amir Sadollah when he felt the power of Hendricks’ left hand. Kampmann fell to the ground unconscious as the referee jumped in front of Hendricks immediately to stop the fight.
Hendricks set up his overhand left with a right hook. It was the first time he had thrown that particular combination in a fight.
The idea came to him in a dream a couple weeks ago.
“Whenever my left lands, it always feels solid,” Hendricks said. “I don’t have to hit the whole chin to lay someone out.”
It’s not in Hendricks’ nature to call out or talk trash on another fighter in hopes of getting the matchup he wants. That’s why he stuck to emotionally pleading for a championship fight after his victory.
But Hendricks did toss what some would interpret as a subtle dig at St. Pierre in the post-fight press conference.
“I’m a wrestler and can knock people out,” Hendricks exclaimed. “That’s pretty sweet, huh?”
Some criticize St. Pierre for over-reliance on his wrestling. The champion won his fifth straight unanimous decision over Carlos Condit in UFC 154’s main event. He hasn’t won by stoppage in nearly four years.
Half of the opponents brave enough to stand across from Hendricks in the octagon have gone down by knockout. He also has a stronger wrestling pedigree than anyone in the division as a two-time national champion at Oklahoma State.
But he should tread carefully on saying anything negative about St. Pierre, who could turn into his biggest supporter.
St. Pierre wasn’t sold on fighting Silva after UFC 154. He made it clear that he would rather stay in the 170-pound division and brought up Hendricks’ name on his own.
“Johny Hendricks looked very impressive tonight,” St. Pierre said.
Hendricks earned the $70,000 Knockout of the Night award for his performance and elevated his standing to an elite level in the UFC on the night.
But that’s not what he’s looking for.
“I want a shot at that title,” Hendricks said. “Nothing else matters in the world.”