Johny HendricksAt UFC on Fox 3 on Saturday night, Johny Hendricks moved his record to 13-1 and solidified his spot amongst the welterweight elite after winning a split decision over former no. 1 contender Josh Koscheck.

Now, Hendricks has defeated two former title challengers in Koscheck and Jon Fitch on his way towards the top. UFC president Dana White is impressed.  Whether you agreed with the decision or not, White believes that Hendricks’ skills are worthy of a crack at Georges St-Pierre, if he is successful against Carlos Condit.

“Josh Koscheck, because he gets booed, may not get the respect that he deserves, but he’s a great fighter and has been for a long time and Johny Hendricks won tonight,” White said at the UFC on Fox 3 press conference.  “Whether you agree with the decision or not, cause some people think that Koscheck won or it should’ve been a draw, it was that close.  I think a fight with Hendricks vs. GSP is pretty interesting.”

As for Hendricks, he feels truly blessed to be in title contention and to have beaten such greats as Fitch and Koscheck.  The 28-year-old was once written off as a top contender by pundits after losing to Rick Story. To have bounced back and climbed to the top of the division is an impressive feat in and of itself.

“They’re both great fighters. I feel blessed to be in the same Octagon as them,” Hendricks said of Koscheck and Fitch. “Now I just got to go home and see what they say and be prepared for what they say and hopefully a title shot.”

Now sitting as one of the sport’s elite, it’s a surreal moment for the former four-time All-American wrestler.  While earning the top spot, Hendricks is going to have to take a breather and let it all sink in because, unfortunately for him, he won’t be able to fight for a title until at least 2013 due to St-Pierre vs. Condit happening in November.

Hendricks, though, remains positive and upbeat about it all. For now, he’s looking forward to healing up and spending some time with his family

“It just depends what happens,” Hendricks continued.  “Whenever I get back home and when I heal up, we’ll talk from there, but nothing really matters.  I just want to go home and spend some time with my wife.”

Follow Andrew Gladstone at @gladstone1 on Twitter.
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