Johny Hendricks thinks Georges St. Pierre is more likely to come back if he loses the belt. | Jeff Sherwood/Sherdog.com
Johny Hendricks may be in the midst of preparing to defend his welterweight title against Robbie Lawler in a rematch of their thrilling UFC 171 scrap, but the shadow of Georges St. Pierre still looms large.
Despite having a fight against a dangerous foe at UFC 181 on Saturday, Hendricks does not shy away from discussing the former welterweight king. Instead, Hendricks opted to tackle St. Pierre questions head-on during a media luncheon earlier this week.
“It could be dangerous for him to come back [and fight me],” Hendricks explained when discussing the possibility of a GSP return to the Octagon.
Hendricks, of course, is referring to avenging his razor thin split-decision loss to St. Pierre at UFC 167 that left the Canadian battered, bruised and helped push him into semi-retirement. Despite the beating he put on the ex-champion, Hendricks came up short on the scorecards. Shortly thereafter, St. Pierre opted to walk away from the sport.
“Even though it didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to, if he does come back it’s going to be a lot worse because it was my first five-round fight,” Hendricks said.
Although he has since become the UFC welterweight champion, one would think that Hendricks is yearning to avenge the defeat. But the heavy-handed Oklahoman is comfortable with leaving things the way they are.
“If GSP doesn’t come back it doesn’t hurt my legacy,” said Hendricks. “I can’t worry about that, the division is stacked.”
What Hendricks wanted to demonstrate in their first meeting is that St. Pierre isn’t indestructible. He feels that he proved that despite not getting his hand raised last November.
“In my mind he was more of a name and hype,” Hendricks said. “They put him on a pedestal. When I got in there, I wanted to make sure I shut all that down and show them he’s not the wrestler everyone thinks he is.”
Hendricks isn’t looking past Lawler by any stretch of the imagination. Even though he admits that facing Lawler with one arm and a fractured leg didn’t make things any easier, he believes that the American Top Team product might be every bit as dangerous as St. Pierre because “Ruthless” possesses the one trait that St. Pierre lacks: knockout power.
“I knew GSP wasn’t going to knock me out,” the Team Takedown product said. “But if you aren’t careful and Robbie lands, you could wake up the next morning wondering what happened.”
For now, Hendricks is comfortable with answering questions about St-Pierre because it remains a hot-button topic. But what he really believes is that St. Pierre wants no parts of him as long as he has the title in his possession.
“I think he comes back if I lose,” Hendricks said with a shrug. “That’s just what I believe.”
With yet another title fight coming up against Lawler at UFC 181, Hendricks believes that this will mark the beginning of his legacy -- with or without Georges St-Pierre. And he’s just fine with that.
“Nobody can take away anything from him. Even if he comes back and I smash him, he’s still a legend. I’m not here for that. I’m here to make my own legend. That’s why a part of me wants him to stay away.”