Pierre has dominated the UFC welterweight division for about
six years now.
However, his string of wins via decision may keep him from getting
the credit he deserves. At least, that’s the view of Johny
Hendricks’ trainer Steven Wright.
In an interview with the Sherdog
Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show, the Team Takedown striking
coach discussed a potential title shot for Hendricks, GSP’s ability
and much more.
On St. Pierre: “He doesn’t get enough due for what
he’s accomplished because of his lack of ability to finish guys.
With that said, he’s still an exceptional mixed martial artist.
Sometimes it gets lost because everyone’s looking for him to win by
stoppage. Bottom line is, guys are better. It drives me crazy when
I hear someone say, ‘Don’t let it go to the judges’ decision.’ I
know what they mean, but the other guy’s a world-class guy too.
Maybe he’s not getting stopped? Maybe he’s not going away?”
On fighters being satisfied to go the distance with St.
Pierre: “Sometimes they get it in their mind once they’re
in there with GSP, ‘If I at least go the distance, I’ve
accomplished something.’ That’s not Johny at all. Johny’s trying to
win every second of every round. He’s going to push. He’s going to
give the best performance of his life that day, and we’re excited
for the fight.”
On whether Hendricks will deal with St. Pierre’s reach the
same way he dealt with Carlos
Condit’s: “It will be a little different because we’ll
have to be more conscious of the takedowns of course, but we will
bring out the appropriate training partners. Everybody’s taller
than Johny. That’s the one advantage that they’ve got. Everyone
we’ve gone against, except for Mike Pierce,
has had that height advantage over us. I think it’s more difficult
for them to deal with his speed than it is for him to deal with
their height because he always deals with their height whereas they
don’t always deal with his speed and power.”
On St. Pierre’s strategy: “We don’t think there’s
going to be any surprises. That’s one thing about having GSP be as
good as he has been for so long: There’s no new wrinkle that he’s
going to go out and learn that he’s going to use against Johny that
we’re going to be like, ‘Oh, I didn’t see that coming.’ Johny will
be wired. He’ll know what he’s seeing.”
On Hendricks’ ability to close the distance:
“That’s the reason the KO with [Martin] Kampmann happened because
while Kampmann was in his bounce, kind of looking to get
comfortable and looking for Johny to throw so he could counter, it
was too late. Johny had already closed the distance and hit him
twice before he’d realized the space was covered.”
On Hendricks’ wrestling: “Johny has got such good
vision. He’s so comfortable on the feet that he usually ranges his
takedowns by distance. If someone’s standing in a certain place, if
they’re high, he’s looking for certain things in your level
changing and how you move your offense, to get his takedowns.”
On Hendricks’ striking: “I love that people don’t
know how good Johny is. I love when I look on forums and people
say, ‘Oh, he’s just a brawler that just needs to get close and just
land left hands.’ People don’t realize how skilled this guy is, how
good his vision is. He rarely gets hit big. Rarely does he take big
shots. He’s very skilled.”
On Hendricks’ chances against St. Pierre: “We
understand that a lot of people have picked Johny to lose quite a
few times, but I understand the athlete I’ve got. I believe that
I’ve got the best 170 in the world and we’re just looking for the
opportunity to fight GSP now.”
Listen to the full
interview (beginning at 2:38:36).