First off, I count myself in the majority who thought that Johny Hendricks should have emerged as the winner at UFC 167 in Las Vegas against longtime welterweight champion Georges St.Pierre. I didn’t agree with the decision, but that shouldn’t take away from the effort that both men turned in. It was a very deserving choice as Fight of the Night.
The rematch has to happen and UFC President Dana White, who was outraged by the decision, believes they will announce a date for St.Pierre-Hendricks 2 within the next few weeks. We will see whether or not that actually happens, but hopefully the champion won’t be pressured into returning sooner than he’s actually ready to go to battle again.
We’ve recently seen the UFC jump the gun twice when it came to light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. The organization officially announced on two occasions a fight against Glover Teixeira, only to backtrack. Not surprisingly, it turns out Jones was in need of more time to recover after a brutal affair at UFC 165 against Alexander Gustafsson.
There are clearly some issues that are eating away at St. Pierre as he talked about in the Octagon after the controversial win and during the post-fight press conference. There is no disgrace if he actually does feel the need to step away. St. Pierre has reeled off nine successful title defenses of his 170 pound crown since winning the belt for a second time against Matt Serra.
Since then he’s had defenses against opponents who were always touted as his most dangerous challenge like Thiago Alves, B.J. Penn, Jake Shields, Carlos Condit, Nick Diaz and most recently the hard-hitting “Bigg Rigg.”
White has labelled St. Pierre as the UFC’s Pay-Per-View King and while I thought he was very fortunate to retain his title against Hendricks, it didn’t diminish my admiration in the heart and determination that he showed. He’s won a record 19 times inside the Octagon, and has been a true ambassador for the sport.
Whatever those personal issues are that he needs to attend to, St. Pierre should be given the time he needs to get his affairs together and not be rushed into the rematch just because it’s what fans want to see and they have a date to fill. Hopefully, the champion will get at least a six-month break after taking one of the worst physical beatings of his career. Fighting again any time before then would seem to be an unwise decision.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports