The long-time UFC welterweight champion, who set the record for 170 pound title defences with his decision victory over Nick Diaz in the main event of UFC 158, is 24-2 overall in the sport, including an 18-2 mark while fighting in the Octagon. The only men who have been able to find a way to beat him are UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes, who submitted him with a last-second armbar at UFC 50, and Matt Serra, who shockingly TKO’d him at UFC 69.
Since that loss to Serra, though, no one has been able to touch St-Pierre, and considering his outright dominance over all the opponents he’s defeated during his current 11-fight win streak, it’s unknown who will finally be the man to dethrone him.
Many believe that the only man who can beat St-Pierre is UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, who is widely regarded as the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world. But I’m going to make the argument there’s another man who can do it, and he was seated right next to St-Pierre at the UFC 158 post-fight press conference.
Hendricks, a four-time All-American wrestler at Oklahoma State University and a two-time national champion, picked up an incredible victory over Carlos Condit in the co-main event of UFC 158 to solidify his spot as the No. 1 contender in the welterweight division. Now 15-1 in mixed martial arts (the only loss a close decision setback to Rick Story), Hendricks has definitely earned his shot at the title, and once the hand he injured against Condit heals itself, he’ll find himself staring across the cage at St-Pierre with the chance to win the gold belt he so badly wants to wear around his waist.
With his combination of incredible wrestling, an extremely powerful left hand, confidence for ages, and a scruffy beard that no one could hate, Hendricks could be the man who finally ends St-Pierre’s reign as welterweight champion.
I know how good St-Pierre is, but Hendricks has the chance to take him out mainly because of the matchup. If Hendricks can use his wrestling to keep the fight on the feet, he most definitely has the knockout power to finish St-Pierre, who was stopped by Serra (who is most definitely not as powerful as Hendricks), and nearly finished by Condit at UFC 154 (but St-Pierre recovered nicely and ended up winning the fight). Yes, St-Pierre does have the most technical striking of the pair, but this is mixed martial arts, and in MMA it only takes one punch to end a fight, and Hendricks has arguably the most powerful one-punch KO power in the entire UFC welterweight division.
Hendricks will finally get his shot at St-Pierre later this fall once his hand heals, so until that fight happens we won’t know just how good he is.
But if I’m a betting man – and I most certainly am – I’ll be looking closely at the MMA odds for this fight when they are released, because if Hendricks is at anything over +200, I’ll probably be making a bet on him to do the unthinkable, to be the first man to defeat St-Pierre in six years, to possibly be the first man to win a decision over St-Pierre, and to become the new UFC welterweight champion of the world.