Georges St. Pierre has dominated the UFC welterweight division for about six years now.
However, his string of wins via decision may keep him from getting the credit he deserves. At least, that’s the view of Johny Hendricks’ trainer Steven Wright.
In an interview with the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show, the Team Takedown striking coach discussed a potential title shot for Hendricks, GSP’s ability and much more.
On St. Pierre: “He doesn’t get enough due for what he’s accomplished because of his lack of ability to finish guys. With that said, he’s still an exceptional mixed martial artist. Sometimes it gets lost because everyone’s looking for him to win by stoppage. Bottom line is, guys are better. It drives me crazy when I hear someone say, ‘Don’t let it go to the judges’ decision.’ I know what they mean, but the other guy’s a world-class guy too. Maybe he’s not getting stopped? Maybe he’s not going away?”
On fighters being satisfied to go the distance with St. Pierre: “Sometimes they get it in their mind once they’re in there with GSP, ‘If I at least go the distance, I’ve accomplished something.’ That’s not Johny at all. Johny’s trying to win every second of every round. He’s going to push. He’s going to give the best performance of his life that day, and we’re excited for the fight.”
On whether Hendricks will deal with St. Pierre’s reach the same way he dealt with Carlos Condit’s: “It will be a little different because we’ll have to be more conscious of the takedowns of course, but we will bring out the appropriate training partners. Everybody’s taller than Johny. That’s the one advantage that they’ve got. Everyone we’ve gone against, except for Mike Pierce, has had that height advantage over us. I think it’s more difficult for them to deal with his speed than it is for him to deal with their height because he always deals with their height whereas they don’t always deal with his speed and power.”
On St. Pierre’s strategy: “We don’t think there’s going to be any surprises. That’s one thing about having GSP be as good as he has been for so long: There’s no new wrinkle that he’s going to go out and learn that he’s going to use against Johny that we’re going to be like, ‘Oh, I didn’t see that coming.’ Johny will be wired. He’ll know what he’s seeing.”
On Hendricks’ ability to close the distance: “That’s the reason the KO with [Martin] Kampmann happened because while Kampmann was in his bounce, kind of looking to get comfortable and looking for Johny to throw so he could counter, it was too late. Johny had already closed the distance and hit him twice before he’d realized the space was covered.”
On Hendricks’ wrestling: “Johny has got such good vision. He’s so comfortable on the feet that he usually ranges his takedowns by distance. If someone’s standing in a certain place, if they’re high, he’s looking for certain things in your level changing and how you move your offense, to get his takedowns.”
On Hendricks’ striking: “I love that people don’t know how good Johny is. I love when I look on forums and people say, ‘Oh, he’s just a brawler that just needs to get close and just land left hands.’ People don’t realize how skilled this guy is, how good his vision is. He rarely gets hit big. Rarely does he take big shots. He’s very skilled.”
On Hendricks’ chances against St. Pierre: “We understand that a lot of people have picked Johny to lose quite a few times, but I understand the athlete I’ve got. I believe that I’ve got the best 170 in the world and we’re just looking for the opportunity to fight GSP now.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 2:38:36).