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Hendricks earns shot at St-Pierre
Johny Hendricks was lobbying more than talking trash.
“I want to see you here in five months," Hendricks said immediately after beating Carlos Condit at UFC 158 on Saturday night. “If not, I'll fly to your house, hire a ref and we can do something about it."
There will be no need. Georges St-Pierre and, more importantly, UFC president Dana White, agreed that Hendricks will get that shot at a yet-to-be determined event. Hendricks didn’t need to goad St-Pierre like Nick Diaz did.
Hendricks’ best argument came in the Octagon.
“I don’t want to sit here and badmouth anybody,” Hendricks said. “I don’t have to sit here and say, ‘He’s this. He’s this. He’s this.’ I want my ability to get me the fight. That’s what I showcased."
A certain amount of decorum returned to the welterweight division following what transpired at UFC 158. St-Pierre earned an overwhelming win by decision over Diaz, who got the title shot in large part for repeatedly calling out St-Pierre.
The gamesmanship — or maybe just bad sportsmanship — continued even before the main event as Diaz’s camp took issue with St-Pierre’s hand wraps.
“It was a weird fight,” St-Pierre said. “Everything was about head games. That was the first time somebody played head games with me like that. I just wanted to get rid of it. It was very demanding and very stressful.”
Diaz told reporters after getting soundly beaten that he still thinks he’d be a better fight for St-Pierre than Hendricks. Diaz was probably the only person in the room outside maybe Diaz’s entourage who shared that belief.
Hendricks entered as the No. 1 contender in the division and he did nothing but bolster that standing over three action-filled rounds against Condit.
Even a broken hand suffered in the first round, after it got wedged into the cage, didn’t stop him. While Condit landed his own significant blows, Hendricks adapted.
“Once one of your weapons is injured, you have to find another way,” Hendricks said. “That’s what I did.”
As a two-time NCAA Division I wrestling champ, Hendricks used his ground game more over the final two rounds. The two still traded plenty of strikes in what the UFC determined as the Fight of The Night, earning Condit and Hendricks a split of the $50,000 bonus.
Just how much the injury could delay a potential title shot against St-Pierre is unclear. Hendricks told FOXSports.com that he’s had the same injury before, although he wouldn’t know until early this week the full extent of the damage.
Orthopedist Jonathan Gelber of FightMedicine.net told FOXSports.com that Hendrick could have suffered what is commonly referred to as “the boxer's fracture.”
“These types of hand fractures must be held in place with a splint or cast for an average of 4-6 weeks to prevent the injury from getting worse,” Gelber said. “If the bone heals straight, that’s a good thing. If, however, the alignment of the bone cannot be maintained, a doctor may offer surgery to hold the bone in place with hardware. Hardware may include small screws, a plate and screws, or removable pins poked through the skin and drilled into the bone.”
Gelber said full recovery could take up to 12 weeks. Hendricks said he could train around the injury and would be back in the gym on Tuesday.
Hendricks also had a couple fingers that may have been injured, although Gelber said healing time for fractured digits is about a month in most cases.
Regardless, a title match for later this year — possibly again in Montreal — looks realistic.
“Johny has been waiting for this fight a long time,” St-Pierre said. “He deserves this fight.”
It was already a given that the “Super Fight” between St-Pierre and Anderson Silva — who is slated to fight Chris Weidman at UFC 162 in Las Vegas on July 6 — wouldn't happen anytime soon anyway.
“You are the best man,” St-Pierre told Hendricks at the news conference early Sunday morning. “I’m interested in fighting the right guy. The fans want his fight and I’m up for the challenge.”
Unlike St-Pierre vs. Diaz, mutual respect may take precedence over schoolyard taunts as this bout approaches.
“I don’t want to hate somebody to fight them,” Hendricks said. “We get paid to fight and put on a good show for you guys. I get to fight Georges and I just can’t believe it.”