Johny Hendricks On His Loss To GSP: The Fans Knew What Happened
It was November 2014 and the number one UFC welterweight contender Johny Hendricks had just defeated Carlos Condit in a title eliminator bout at UFC 158, making it six wins in a row. In return for his efforts, the former Collegiate wrestler was rewarded with a shot at one on the sports most dominant champions and all time greats, Georges St-Pierre.
The bout took place at UFC 167 under the bright lights of the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, in front of a sell out crowd and commemorated the UFC’s 20th anniversary. Following a brutal five round war in which ‘GSP’ sustained significant damage, the judges scored it for the Canadian and deprived Hendricks of UFC gold.
The decision was one of the sports most controversial moments and even president Dana White stated the he believed Hendricks won the fight.
Despite securing the victory, the gruelling 25 minutes led GSP to take a lengthy break from competition. With St-Pierre out of the picture, Hendricks got another shot at the belt a UFC 171. ‘Bigg Rigg’ was dragged into another savage five round war with veteran striker Robbie Lawler but this time he came out victorious.
Speaking to BJPenn.com, Hendricks opened up about his loss to St-Pierre.
“I don’t watch fights as you would think. I watched it to learn what I did wrong then I would move on. At that point, you are already planning on what’s next. After that fight, I went home, and then we went to Disney World and that’s when I found out I was fighting Robbie Lawler for the belt. So, I didn’t have much time to kick back and re-watch.”
As many predicted, Hendricks admits he was frustrated with the judges’ decision in the immediate aftermath of the GSP fight but he claims that he has now come to terms with the result.
“You know what, a little bit. The fans knew what happened. I think I got more fans off that fight because I handled the loss well. Even though I did lose, the way I handled myself afterward. Now, that I’m retired I don’t really worry about it.
“It did bother me at the time, like not having a win over GSP hurt me. But, now that I look back, everything happens for a reason and I got a title shot anyway and won the belt in Texas. It’s the hard part of the career knowing your life is in the judges’ hands.”
A win over the division’s most accomplished fighter would have been a special moment for ‘Big Rigg’ and his fans. However, Hendricks doesn’t believe that the loss detracted from his legacy as he still went on to become the 170lb undisputed UFC champion.
“Right now, I don’t think it does anything. But, then, if I beat GSP, the next time I fight maybe I don’t lose a close decision to Lawler. They say you have to beat the champ to be the champ,” he said. “You have to destroy the champ in order to win the belt. I’ve seen Jon Jones lose multiple times but still held onto the title. I think I would’ve been the champion a little longer. But, fate wasn’t on my side. You just deal with what you got.”
Hendricks last fought in the UFC in 2017 and officially retired the following year. Although he has recently stated that he is considering coming out of retirement.
Who do you think really ‘won’ when Johny Hendricks fought Georges St-Pierre?