MONTREAL – Carlos Condit isn’t sure if his UFC 158 co-main event is a welterweight title-eliminator. However, his opponent, Johny Hendricks, is pretty confident in his belief it is.
If Hendricks (14-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC) beats Condit (28-6 MMA, 5-2 UFC), he said he’s a shoo-in for UFC welterweight Georges St-Pierre or challenger Nick Diaz, who meet in Saturday’s UFC 158 pay-per-view headliner at Montreal’s Bell Centre.
“I’ve got to get past Carlos Condit,” Hendricks said. “Once I do, it’s GSP time. If I beat Carlos Condit, nobody is in my way. GPS can’t hide forever. … [Condit] just got done fighting GSP, so that’s still fresh in everyone’s mind, so if I can go out there and do good against Carlos Condit, there’s nothing in my way.”
Hendricks initially believed his latest win – a 46-second knockout of Martin Kampmann that marked his fifth straight UFC victory – was enough to earn him a shot at the belt. But St-Pierre instead shifted hit attention to Diaz, who was coming off an interim-title loss to Condit and a one-year suspension due to a failed drug test. The champ said he wanted the fight because Diaz was so “disrespectful” and because he wanted to teach him a lesson.
Hendricks, though, said St-Pierre had ulterior motives, and it’s why he wants the shot.
“I want to look across the octagon and say, ‘You have not faced anyone like me,’” Hendricks said. “Isn’t that what [St-Pierre's] little quote is, ‘You haven’t faced anybody like me,’ right? Bulls—. You never faced anyone like me. That’s why you didn’t take the fight.”
If he sounds confrontational or antagonistic with those remarks, it’s for good reason. Hendricks knows he was likely passed over because UFC officials and St-Pierre saw the big-talking Diaz as a more marketable opponent. This time around, Hendricks isn’t biting his tongue.
Then again, he’s also not losing his focus. While he wants a chance to defeat St-Pierre, he said any animosity he feels toward the champ would dissipate if he loses to Diaz.
“I don’t care about Georges,” he said. “Georges St-Pierre, he’s got the belt, so I want him. That’s why I want him. If he moves up (a weight class), then guess what: I don’t care. I don’t care about him or anyone else except for that thing they wrap around their waist.”
In fact, while most 170-pounders see St-Pierre as the man to beat, Hendricks believes his own body of work is more impressive. St-Pierre is on a 10-fight win streak with seven consecutive title defenses. But Hendricks, who’s 11-1 under the Zuffa banner, believe he’s giving fans what they want. And that’s why he doesn’t believe he’d need any other win but the one over Condit in order to get his title shot.
“I don’t need to do anything else,” he said. “I’ve done more than GSP has. Everybody [he's] fought, I’ve fought, and I’ve knocked a couple of them out.”
Hendricks is clearly fired up as fight day approaches. The usually mild-mannered fighter knows the squeaky wheel gets the grease. He’s talking a big game because that’s what it takes to get noticed, and he doesn’t want passed over again.
Hendricks, though, said he can keep his emotions in check. But he said he won’t put up with St-Pierre ducking him again.
“It’s never, never out of emotion, and it’s never out of anger,” he told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “I don’t give a crap what he did. It’s in the past. But the thing is it can’t happen again.”
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