Georges St. Pierre holds the UFC welterweight title, and Nick Diaz–Carlos Condit are set to clash over an interim belt while GSP heals up, but few fighters have been as dominant over the past six years than Jon Fitch. The 33-year old grappler is an impressive 13-1-1 inside the Octagon since joining the promotion in 2005 with his only stumbles involving a decision loss to St. Pierre and a draw against former double-division champion B.J. Penn.
Now Fitch’s opponent at UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem, Johny Hendricks, is ready to add his name to the list of opponents who have given the American Kickboxing Academy staple a run for his money or even beaten him. In fact, the 11-1 former All-American wrestler thinks he’s figured out the answer to the riddle that is Fitch.
“I think I might have solved it,” said Hendricks of Fitch’s attack when asked by the UFC’s website to discuss their fight this Friday night. “That’s what it really boils down to. The style that Fitch’s good at, he’s so good at. Whenever he starts to do what he’s good at, you have to be able to capitalize on it and stop him. How do you stop him? I don’t want to give it away, but I think I have what it takes to defeat him.”
Hendricks knows exactly how important a win would be for his career, not only based on Fitch’s in-ring accomplishments but also how rare opportunities come in a division as stacked as welterweight. Of course, if the Oklahoman ever doubts the latter to be true, all he has to do is look across the cage given Fitch’s struggles to claim a second shot at the divisional belt despite his success.
“It’s a fight where I have to do everything I can in it,” Hendricks explained. “It’s not just another fight. I have to go out there and do my best performance because a title shot does not come easy in any division. Knowing that, if I have a bad performance I might have to have another three fights before I get another shot at a number two or even a number five. It’s really important that in every fight you get better and in every fight you are constantly doing the right stuff. I want the fans to know that I went out there and competed to my fullest. I did everything I could. That’s what this fight is about. I’m going out there, I’m doing the right stuff…I’m somebody that should be considered a top welterweight and shouldn’t be overlooked.”
That being said, winning won’t be enough for Hendricks with the 28-year old adding, “My main goal is to make my statement that this is where I belong.”
Fans can catch Hendricks-Fitch as part of the PPV portion of UFC 141 when the main card clashes air starting at 10:00 PM EST. The card is headlined by a contendership-determining dance between heavyweights Brock Lesnar and Alistair Overeem.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC