When the UFC announced welterweight Nick Diaz would serve as the next opponent for champion Georges St-Pierre it put Johny Hendricks in a difficult position. Easily the division’s most deserving contender, the 14-1 Hendricks had the option of sitting on the sidelines while waiting for Diaz-GSP to throw down or take a tilt to stay active even if it meant jeopardizing a potential title-shot.
The bearded brawler decided to go with the latter, accepting a bout with Jake Ellenberger (28-6) at UFC 158 where St-Pierre is also set to defend his belt against Diaz. However, it turns out Hendricks still hasn’t been given a guarantee that he’s on deck for the winner of the evening’s headliner, meaning success against Ellenberger will look good on his record but not necessarily result in a crack at promotional gold.
UFC President Dana White was asked about Hendricks at a press conference for UFC 158 where he would only go so far as to say the hard-hitting wrestler was “probably” in line for a championship opportunity rather than offering up something more concrete.
Hendricks is on a five-fight winning streak including wins over Josh Koscheck, Jon Fitch, and Martin Kampmann in his last three clashes. Eight of his victories have involved a strike-based stoppage despite Hendricks’ claim to high-level wrestling credentials as well.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC