Johny Hendricks is eager for five more rounds. | File photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Johny Hendricks may not agree with the verdict, but he has no plans of slowing down in the wake of a split-decision defeat to Georges St. Pierre at UFC 167.
“Those are the hardest [losses], but they make you so much better,” Hendricks told Fox Sports following his headlining title bid at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. “I beat ‘GSP.’ I did deserve that belt, [because] I won that belt. Two people didn’t see it that way, but I’m gonna go back home, and I swear to God, I’m gonna get faster and stronger and better in all situations to where that doesn’t happen [again].”
Though St. Pierre managed to score an early takedown in round one, it was Hendricks who closed the frame out in charge, dealing out damage with elbows to the temple and connecting with left straights in the standup. The latter trend would continue into the second stanza, where Hendricks hurt the longstanding titlist with heavy blows that knocked him off-kilter.
St. Pierre turned the tables with his jab in the third, but Hendricks stormed right back in the fourth frame with a takedown and ground-and-pound. The bruised and bloody titlist then increased his output in the fifth, opening up with high kicks and one-twos in addition to taking down the former NCAA Division I champion.
Though Hendricks and his corner believed him to be the clear winner following the contest, the hard-hitting southpaw collapsed in disappointment upon hearing the scorecards read by cage announcer Bruce Buffer.
“I know you can’t finish every fight, but whenever you do that to somebody ... He’s all banged up. I’ve got a couple of dots [on my face]. He did hit me with a couple of shots, but there’s nothing I could have done better or differently,” said Hendricks. “What could I have done? I took him down when I needed to. I hit him with everything I had. He was able to take me down twice, but that was it. I neutralized his wrestling. I out-jabbed him. I out-struck him, but somehow I lost the fight.”
Following the verdict, St. Pierre revealed that he was currently going through some personal issues and that he would need to take some time away from the cage. A timetable was not given for how long the champion might be inactive, but St. Pierre did say he would address the situation more formally at a later date.
As for Hendricks, he remains focused on just one thing: another shot at the title.
“I want that belt. I don’t care about ‘GSP.’ That belt is mine. He knows it. I’d retire, too. In his mind, he knows that’s my belt,” said Hendricks. “That was my first five-round fight. Do you know how much stronger and better I’m gonna be in that next one? Do you think he’s gonna want to step into that Octagon with me? I wouldn’t.”