UFC welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre has a lot of tools to work with in the Octagon but few are more feared than his wrestling. St-Pierre can seemingly take down opponents at will and often smothers them from above, notching numerous one-sided decisions throughout his career as a result.
One man who feels he’s ready to contend with St-Pierre’s relentless attack is top contender Johny Hendricks, a collegiate champion and All-American grappler with the momentum of six straight wins behind him. Though no date has been set for their tilt, Hendricks recently told Sherdog he expects GSP to test his takedown defense early and often..
“That’s his bread and butter. I don’t think he wants to stay on his feet for too long knowing that he does get caught and he can be dropped,” explained Hendricks of his rationale. “Knowing that right there, I think he’s going to try to do a little bit of wrestling with me. The only thing is, my wrestling, that last fight really boosted my [wrestling] confidence into the MMA world. How my wrestling looked in that fight and how many takedowns I got and how I used my hands, now I’m starting to understand.”
“If you watched that fight, Carlos Condit did a great job covering up, but it left his legs wide open, and that’s really why I was doing so many takedowns is because it’s hard to give that up,” Hendricks continued. “I know my wrestling is strong. I know MMA’s a little bit different, but the difference is that I’m not scared to get punched. I think that’s one reason why it’s harder to take me down, and GSP, he covers up pretty good. I think I’m going to use that and I’m going to use my left hand also to set up some of the takedowns.”
The 15-1 Hendricks put Condit on the canvas a number of times in their clash and certainly with more ease than was the case when St-Pierre attempted the same in a November scrap. Of course, as a handful of good wrestlers have found out before, repeating such a feat against “Rush” is another thing altogether.
PHOTO CREDIT – MMAWEEKLY