UFC 154′s Johny Hendricks Breaks Down GSP vs. Condit, Talks Jon Fitch Rematch And Fighting Nick Diaz

(Photo by Mark J. Rebilas via US PRESSWIRE)

Happenings are aplenty in the UFC welterweight division and while things may be changing, Johny Hendricks has firmly established himself as one of the division’s top contenders.

With Georges St-Pierre and Carlos Condit set to unify the UFC welterweight championship at UFC 154 in November, and Hendricks slated to meet Martin Kampmann in the co-main event, “Big Rigg” is among the top contenders at 170-pounds and could be as near as one-fight away from earning a shot at the title.

As Hendricks nears one of the most important fights of his career, the 29-year-old spoke with Mike Bohn of FightCove.com about several topics including the UFC 154 main event of St-Pierre vs. Condit, his own UFC 154 meeting against Kampmann, Jon Fitch’s recent comments about being injured in his UFC 141 meeting with Hendricks, and a potential fight with Nick Diaz.

Hendricks defeated Fitch by knockout in just 11-seconds back at UFC 141 in Dec. 2011 in what many call the biggest win of Hendricks’ 14-fight career. Hendricks became the first man to finish Fitch in the UFC and 10-months later, Fitch made headlines by stating he was injured going into the bout with Hendricks, and only competed at UFC 141 due to desperate financial circumstances.

Fitch is far from the first fighter to enter a bout with an injury and in need of a paycheck, and that’s why his comments don’t bother Hendricks. In fact, Hendricks believes if Fitch has a problem with the result of their bout he will have the chance to redeem the loss down the road as he sees a rematch eventually taking place.

“I don’t care [what Jon Fitch says] because here’s the thing – don’t we all need money? Don’t we all? You know I’ve got two kids, I got two kids, I got a mortgage, I got all this stuff, you know what I am saying? I’ve taken fights on three weeks notice. It’s just part of the sport, you win some you lose some. And I’m pretty sure we’re going to be fighting again and whenever that date comes, you know I’m pretty sure – will I knock him out again in the first round? I don’t know. Will I? I just don’t know. But I do know that I came in there ready to fight that night. And I got my hand raised and that’s all that matters. Everything else other than that doesn’t matter. You know what I mean that’s the past, who cares? At least that’s the way that I look at it. I’m just like man, who cares? It’s over I’m probably going to be fighting him again and whenever I do I’ll just go out there and win.”

“It doesn’t matter how it finishes, you know? That’s one thing that I try to do is, of course you always want to finish somebody, but, the most important thing is to go out there and win. And if you can finish a couple of fights then sweet. You’re doing the fans a favor…they love seeing finishes. But I also know that you can’t go out there and just finish everybody all the time. So that’s something that I’ve accepted and of course I’ll always look for the finish but if it doesn’t happen then it doesn’t happen and like I said, you just move on and build yourself up and make sure you can (finish) the next fight.”

Hendricks will be fighting in the co-featured bout on one of the most anticipated fight cards of 2012, as St-Pierre’s return is a monumental event for the UFC. Although Hendricks is focused on his own fight at UFC 154, he is definitely paying attention to the main event, which could potentially produce his next opponent. With arguably two of the most important welterweight fights of the year taking place at UFC 154, Hendricks broke down the night’s main event.

“There’s a couple things that are unanswered. You know, how good is Condit’s takedown defense? I’m pretty sure he’s been working on it like no other, has that gotten better? Okay if it has, GSP is going to have a little harder time. Two, is GSP’s knee going to be back to 100 percent? We don’t know. The only way we’re going to know is by watching the fight that night. So those are two big factors in it. The biggest one is GSP’s knee – it is back to 100 percent? Because if it is then he’s going to be, he’s going to have the explosiveness and he’s going to be able to take Condit down. But in return Condit does know he’s going to try and take him down and has his takedown defense gotten any better and all these things? There’s a lot of – the main part is, is GSP’s knee where it should be?

It’s hard to say who’s going to win, because like I said if GSP goes out there and just takes one shot and you see him lag a little bit, well obviously his knee, he’s nervous about his knee and can’t get the drive he needs. So at that point I’m going to say Condit might win.”

If St-Pierre emerges victorious at UFC 154, his next bout could be a long-awaited superfight with UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva. However, should the French-Canadian remain at 170-pounds after facing Condit, fans may be clamoring for a bout with former Strikeforce champion Nick Diaz once Diaz returns from suspension in February 2013. That bout will not take place, though, as UFC President Dana White recently said Diaz needs to beat a “top guy” in the welterweight division before fighting for the belt.

Should Hendricks get past Kampmann on Nov. 17, he would be on a five-fight win streak and would likely be that top guy. However, the Ohio native believe Diaz, who lost his last fight, should have to win before being matched up with someone like himself.

“No, No [a Diaz fight does not interest me]. And the reason why is because they usually put people who’ve lost together. If he comes out there and wins, or if I lose then of course you have to fight somebody like that. But right now, I know that okay; I’m on a winning streak I don’t have to worry about something like that. And as long as I stay on that winning streak, then I’m fine. But if I do not then yeah, I’ll probably be fighting Nick Diaz.”

Even though a lot of potential fights are on the horizon for Hendricks, he only has his mind set on one, and that’s his UFC 154 collision with a dangerous opponent in Kampmann. While he knows it’s going to be tough to pull off the win in Montreal, Hendricks, like any fighter, is confident he will have his hand raised.

“[My prediction] is to get a W. Look for a finish, if the finish is there awesome, but if not, the most important thing I can do right now is just get a W. I’ve done all the prep work to get me where I’m at and to get me what I want, now it’s just about getting your hand raised that night and waiting to see who you’re going to be fighting.”

Mike Bohn, founder and lead writer of FightCove.com, wrote this article. You can follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeBohnMMA. Also, follow @FightCove on Twitter and “Like” Fight Cove on Facebook.