Despite being outshone by fellow welterweight contender Jake Ellenberger, Johny Hendricks has been promised the next shot at George St. Pierre‘s title.
UFC President Dana White confirmed Hendricks’ opportunity with reporters at the UFC 158 post fight press conference. “He is the number one contender. Done,” White said.
Hendricks, who beat Carlos Condit by unanimous decision, looked explosive in the first round landing several powerful strikes on his durable opponent. Hendricks, however, faded rapidly and lost a one-sided third round. If this fight had been featured as a main event, it would have been a five round affair in which Condit would have certainly taken over. Fortunately for Hendricks, the final horn ended after round three and the judges had no choice but to give him the nod.
Hendricks’ close victory left MMA fans wondering how he could beat St. Pierre in five rounds if he can barely finish three rounds against Condit?
Ellenberger, on the other hand, had the power and technique to finish his opponent quickly and showed why he deserves the next title shot instead.
Early in his fight, Ellenberger landed a huge right hand to put down Nate Marquardt and never let up. After a barrage of right hands from Ellenberger, the referee was forced to step in, putting an end to the fight near the half-way mark of the first round. Between he and Hendricks, Ellenberger had by far the more impressive victory.
At the post fight press conference, Ellenberger insisted he is ready for a title shot. “I’m focused on getting that title fight,” Ellenberger said. “I’m one step closer tonight.”
Ellenberger has now won eight of his last nine fights. His only loss during this run came by way of a fluke knockout from the knee of Martin Kampmann.
Before Ellenberger gets his title shot, however, MMA fans will be forced to endure watching Hendricks predictably run out of gas on his way to losing a lopsided fight against the champion.