UFC

Hendo sees Hendricks beating GSP

Just how strong was Dan Henderson's knee?
Dan Henderson thinks Johny Hendricks is about to dethrone Georges St-Pierre.
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Mike Chiappetta

Mike Chiappetta has documented the fast-growing sport of mixed martial arts since 2006 for news organizations including SB Nation, NBCSports.com, FIGHT! Magazine, AOL and ESPN. He appears regularly as an analyst on countless television shows and radio programs, including CBS Radio and MMA Beat. Follow him on Twitter.

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Take the focus off the beard for a moment and you may see a few resemblances between Johny Hendricks and Dan Henderson. Both were amateur wrestling standouts. Both went on to fruitful mixed martial arts careers. And at some point, both went from being known for their grappling prowess to their thunderous hands.

So perhaps it should come as no surprise that when Henderson looks at the current No. 1 welterweight contender, he sees the man who will end Georges St-Pierre’s lengthy run at the top of the division.

“I think Hendricks is going to beat him up,” he said during his recent fight week in Goiania, Brazil. “He’s got that style. Yeah, actually [like mine]. He’s a very good wrestler, and he looks like he hits pretty hard. And he’s not afraid to get in there and bang.”

The odds have GSP pegged as a slightly more than 2-to-1 favorite, which is his smallest odds margin since he went off around -180 while fighting lightweight champion B.J. Penn.

St-Pierre has held the belt since April 2008, defending it eight consecutive times, a divisional record.

Hendricks (15-1) has won six straight fights, including three by knockout. But aside from his powerful strikes, Hendricks has also shown the ability to grind out a win when necessary. Over the course of his 11 UFC bouts, he has 36 takedowns to his opponents’ seven.

Henderson believes that his prowess in both the wrestling and striking departments will allow Hendricks to dictate the style of fight that makes landing his bombs inevitable.

“I think St-Pierre’s style the last few years has been very conservative,” he said. “Very effective but still conservative. He’s afraid to get in there and really mix it up with guys that can hurt him. He’s relied on his takedown ability to really control the fight. I think Hendricks will be able to not let that happen, and make St-Pierre stand and bang with him. So I think Hendricks is going to beat him up.”

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