There are plenty of folks who believe Johny Hendricks should still be wearing the UFC welterweight belt today, following his controversial, split decision loss to Robbie Lawler at UFC 181. No one can argue, however, that “Bigg Rigg” didn’t look so great by the end of the memorable scrap.
While the debate continues as to who should have won the UFC 181 headliner, some comparisons have been made between Saturday’s bout, and Hendricks’ loss to Georges St-Pierre last November. In that fight, GSP may have won more rounds than Hendricks (depending on your view of course), but the now former champ took some heavy, heavy shots, and looked far worse off. Sound familiar?
Well, one of the people who has brought GSP up while discussing Hendricks-Lawler II, is the Canadian star’s former rival, Matt Hughes.
While speaking on “The MMA Hour” recently, here is some of what the former champ and legend had to say (quotes via MMA Mania.com):
“I don’t think Johny was effective on his take downs as he thought he was planning on being. I think that really hurt him. I think the crowd actually hurt Johny because they were booing so much on his take downs, and the judges hear that. So when the crowd is yelling, that’s not good for the judges. And also, I believe Johny got this from GSP, GSP is not a guy to go out and finish fights. He wants to win three of the five rounds. He wants to win a round, win another round and then win another. Johny really tried to do the same thing; which is not go out there and win fights, but go out there and win rounds. That’s not the most exciting thing to watch, is watch a guy go out and try to win rounds. People want to see a guy go out and finish the fight. I think Johny got caught up in the whole aspect of trying to win rounds based on take downs. You never saw Johny go out there and try to finish the fight. There were a couple of times when he had Robbie stumbling a bit where he could’ve capitalized on it. I think Johny had a hard weight cut, I think that affected him. I think now he will go in with the mindset of finishing the fight and not let it go to the judges.”
Hendricks was clearly, some could say, badly out striking Lawler in rounds two and three, but he went more to his wrestling as the bout wore on. As Hughes alluded to, the takedown attempts didn’t go so well. If you only watched round five, you may have thought Lawler had just given the decorated wrestler the beating of his lifetime.
Since the fight, Hendricks has conceded that he had a tough weight cut, and that he may need to monitor his weight better and keep more of it off, in between fights.
Now it will be interesting to see what direction the UFC goes: Lawler-Hendricks III or Lawler-MacDonald II? Or, what if Lawler wants to take a break? How about Hendricks-MacDonald?
Hughes isn’t the first person to criticize GSP for not finishing fights, but it is worth noting that St-Pierre finished the Hall of Famer not once, but twice.