If the Nov. 16 welterweight title fight between Georges St. Pierre and Johny Hendricks came down to the first round, then Hendricks should have won, according to striking coach Steven Wright.
In an interview with the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show, Wright discussed the opening period, the decision and more.
On losing the decision: “We thought we rose to the occasion, but it didn’t go our way. We were disappointed, of course. It’s weird because I wasn’t mad. I was more disappointed, more almost heartbroken for my guy because I thought he put in the work. I thought he performed in a way most people didn’t think he could do. They thought it was going to be he’d wrestle until he got the opportunity to KO him. They didn’t think he’d be able to stand in the pocket, beat Georges up on the feet, beat Georges up in the clinch, take Georges down. We thought that we had performed in such a way that we would have taken the title.”
On scoring the fight: “On the night of the fight … when I went into the fifth round, I really thought there was a chance we’d probably won four rounds. Going into the fifth, I thought we’d won all four. Maybe we lost one going into the last round. But then when I sit down and talk to Johny, the first thing I say is, ‘I want this round. I need clean, effective striking.’ … I wanted round five. … I can understand us losing round five and three, but during the fight, I have to say I thought we might have won all four.”
On the first round: “With that said, I would never have imagined in a million years that we had lost the first round. I relooked at it since then and I can see it as competitive because I do think Georges had a couple of moments in it. Johny came out with a cross to begin with and GSP went under, but Johny, he dropped and he went to his butterfly right away. He got the right underhook in, and as soon as GSP got any kind of separation, he was back up on his feet. I actually thought when we took him down a minute and a half or whatever it was later, we scored a couple of times, nothing significant, but I thought we did enough to take away what was done to us. Then I thought the most significant strikes of that round was when GSP went for the takedown on Johny and he took him to the cage, and Johny went to work on him with those elbows. I’m just watching GSP try to hold the leg and then I’m watching him just break down like, ‘Let me get out of here. I don’t want this leg anymore because of those elbows.’ I thought that was the most significant strikes. … After the first round, I did feel confident that we won the first round even when I relooked at it.”
On St. Pierre’s marked-up appearance compared to Hendricks, who looked much better after the fight: “I’m not so much going off of that. I wasn’t one of those people who saw the meme of Johny looking cool with no scars and then GSP with all these scars -- I didn’t look at that and think OK, that tells the story of the fight. I just think that we scored the most effective offense, clear.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 44:58).