There is only one other fighter other than UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre to have defeated both Jon Fitch and Josh Koscheck – Johny Hendricks. With an outstanding 13-1 record the Team Takedown welterweight is riding a four-fight winning streak and poised to challenge for the welterweight title.
Unfortunately there’s a catch involved.
The problem that Hendricks is facing is very discouraging, not only to him, but to the fans and other welterweight contenders. With GSP on the shelf with a knee injury, the UFC made an interim title-bout between Carlos Condit and Nick Diaz that took place at UFC 143 this past February. Condit walked away with a Unanimous Decision victory, but instead of defending the title he has chosen to sit on the sidelines and wait for St. Pierre to come back sometime later this year.
Two other top contenders met last Friday night when Martin Kampmann and Jake Ellenberger faced off at the Ultimate Fighter 15 Finale. After surviving a near knockout in the first round, Kampmann rallied to win by TKO in the second round. With the triumph many thought that pairing up Hendricks and Kampmann was the natural thing to do with the winner facing the winner of Condit-GSP early in 2013. Not only would the UFC have two great, exciting fights on its hands, but it would offer two clear cut fighters to compete for the undisputed championship.
Things recently took a turn when, just a few days ago, Condit came out and said that if GSP isn’t ready to go by November he wants to fight Kampmann to avenge a 2009 loss that was also his last stumble. However, while its understandable that Condit would want to get the win back against Kampmann, that doesn’t sit well with Hendricks who is less than pleased with Condit’s statements.
“I was willing to wait for a title shot because Condit had said he was going to wait for GSP,” Hendricks explained in an interview this week with Five Ounces of Pain. “I don’t want to be on the shelf, but when I heard Condit call out Kampmann I figured if Condit isn’t going to wait, then I’m not willing to wait anymore either. The reason I was willing to wait is because you never know when you’ll get another shot at the title, but if he’s going to fight it should be against me. I want to fight for the belt – whether it’s the interim belt or the undisputed belt I want it.”
“I’m not taking anything away from Kampmann, but besides GSP, I’m the only guy who has beaten both Fitch and Koscheck,” Hendricks continued. “Those two have been at the top of the division for years. Condit’s a good fighter and there is nothing personal about this, but I want my shot at that belt. He’s done a few interviews and never mentioned my name. I don’t know if he wants to fight me, but what I do know is if I want to fight for the title I have to make it known. If he’s not going to mention my name then I have to be the one to do it.”
Hendricks has always been very quiet and content on letting his management team deal with Joe Silva and Dana White when it came to setting up his fights, but he has since come to grips with the fact he needs to get more involved in order to achieve his goals and realize his dreams.
“I realize that I can get better while I’m out, but I also know I can get better by fighting inside that Octagon,” explained Hendricks. “If I can beat Koscheck and Fitch then go out and defeat Condit I know I will be ready for whatever GSP throws at me. I don’t want to be pushed to the side anymore. I’m starting to draw the line. If I want to be at the top I have to be more vocal and the more vocal I am the better chance I have of getting what I want. I’m at a crossroads right now and I have to stand alone. After hearing what Condit said I was so mad because I don’t understand why he’s calling anyone out – it should be the other way around.”
“If I had the belt I’d want someone to call me out,” the 28-year old elaborated. “That would make me want to fight this guy because he wants this belt that I have and he wants to put on a show. That’s the way I am looking at things. I want this title. I want to bring it home. I’ve got a great resume and have beaten a lot of top guys. I am going to push for this Condit fight. Nothing else matters at this point. I have my mind set on fighting Condit in the next couple of months.”
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC