Johny Hendricks: GSP is just keeping the belt warm for me until the rematch
NOV 20, 2013 8:23p ET
It's been four days since Johny Hendricks stood proud after a fantastic performance to beat Georges St-Pierre at UFC 167 only to hear the judges rip away his victory and hand the belt back to the incumbent champion.
Despite the fact that every major media outlet along with UFC president Dana White all declared Hendricks the winner, two judges saw the fight a different way and so he headed home to Texas this week with a loss on his record and no gold belt to call his own.
Since returning from Las Vegas, Hendricks says he hasn't watched the fight with St-Pierre again, but will do so on Friday with his coaches. He's trying his best not to dwell on the situation as tough as that might be, especially with virtually the entire world telling him that he won the fight on Saturday night.
"It does make it hard. It sucks I'm not going to say it doesn't," Hendricks told FOX Sports on Wednesday. "Yeah, I wish it went differently. Yeah, I wish one judge would have seen it differently but it is what it is. I can't change it. Yeah I'd love to have that strap right now, but it is mine. GSP knows it. I know it. The world knows it. The only difference is he's still carrying it around for me for safe keeping until we meet again."
Over the course of five rounds, Hendricks says the champion only hurt him one or two times. A leg kick that caused his knee to swell up and a second shot that landed behind the head tagged the former Oklahoma State wrestler. Other than that, St-Pierre didn't do any damage that Hendricks couldn't handle.
"He did hit me once behind the head that gave me a little bruise. That was about it. Realistically, I thought I dominated him. He didn't really do anything that had me concerned about anything," Hendricks said.
From his memory of the fight, Hendricks walked into the fifth round knowing he had already defeated St-Pierre on the scorecards so it was just a matter of not letting anything crazy happen in the final five minutes while also being careful of a tender knee. Turns out the leg kick that connected with Hendricks' knee in the fourth round caused some swelling and left him gingerly walking on the wounded limb.
The last thing Hendricks wanted to do was allow St-Pierre to kick the knee again and fall to the ground, so he guarded it well while doing his best to hide the injury from his opponent. Notably, Hendricks' last round was his least productive of the fight, and now he's revealed why that happened.
"I thought I won rounds one, two and four. I thought I clearly won those rounds. So, I was thinking to myself and so were my coaches that something could happen. He might catch you right on the button and knock you out, but also in the fourth round that's also when he hit my knee. So in the fifth round it was catching a little bit, cause it was swelling up," Hendricks explained. "So I was like okay, in my mind the way it works is think about the worst thing possible. So I'm thinking something might be wrong with my knee, so let's prepare for something being bad. So what I was trying to do was not exploding too much on my knee to keep from it going out. If I explode hard and it gives out, I fall down to the ground."
The knee in question also landed Hendricks on the medical suspension list after the fight was over, but he says now that he's feeling just fine and the injury won't prevent him from competing again as soon as the UFC calls.
"My knee's fine," Hendricks said. "The reason why I did that, during the fight he kicked me like right there on the bursa sac, and it swelled up a little bit so my knee was sort of catching. I'd much rather play to the commission (rather) safe than sorry. Instead of just playing through it, if something was really wrong I knew I'd have to get it checked out. I played golf on it today, and I've been running on it. So it feels just fine."
Hendricks plans on watching the fight on Friday and then getting back into light training with his teammates and coaches. He hasn't heard word yet on when a rematch might take place, but he's been assured by White that he will get a second crack at St-Pierre as soon as possible.
While it would be rather easy for Hendricks to sit back and have a pity party, dwelling on the fact that he should be celebrating right now as the new welterweight champion of the world, that's just not how he's built. Hendricks is looking at the positives â the biggest factor being he had already planned on facing St-Pierre in back-to-back fights and that's still what's going to happen.
"I knew I had to beat GSP twice," Hendricks said. "Well, guess what? I'm going to get a rematch, Dana White said Iâm going to get a rematch, so I'm going to get the rematch, I'll beat him again then I'll probably have to beat him again just because it wasn't an actual win on my card. So I'm going to have to beat him three times and I know I can do that."
Hendricks will do whatever the UFC asks of him, even if that means sitting out for an extended period of time while waiting for St-Pierre to return. At the end of the day, Hendricks just wants what is rightly his and that is the UFC welterweight title.
There are no dates or locations in mind for the fight as of yet, but Hendricks did like one idea a reporter tossed out on Saturday night about the rematch with St-Pierre taking place in his home state of Texas.
"I would love that. Try to get it at Cowboys Stadium, how sweet would that be?" Hendricks said. "What if America took over, we put 60 or 70,000 people in Cowboy Stadium to watch us fight? I'd love for America to be able to do that and win the belt in Cowboy Stadium. That would be absolutely amazing to me."