UFC welterweight Johny Hendricks is laying down the gauntlet. Hendricks is demanding a title shot at Georges St-Pierre and won’t fight until he gets it. Unfortunately for Hendricks he has about zero leverage in this game of chicken with Dana White.
Hendricks put his cards on the table during a recent interview with MMA Junkie radio. Hendricks is upset after hearing GSP’s camp publicly declare Nick Diaz the top contender over Hendricks this past week. This comes at a time where the UFC is pushing the champ to take a fight with Anderson Silva as opposed to defending the title. Hendricks is mad that he isn’t in the mix and is not going to take it anymore.
“I’m not going to fight unless it’s for a belt,” Hendricks told MMAjunkie.com Radio. “Nothing else matters but the belt. My last three fights were guys in the top five, and I finished two of those three fights. I stated my claim. My stock’s really high right now, and the only thing left is to get a shot at that belt.”
Hendricks has even gone as far as to begin training for a five-round fight.
“I really want a belt. They don’t come around that often, and I feel like I’ve done enough to earn a shot, and that’s pretty much all I’m thinking of right now. I’m training for a five-round fight, and that’s it.”
Hendricks is just the latest fighter to speak out about the UFC allowing its champions to pick and choose fights regardless of win/loss records. Michael Bisping has gone public recently with his frustrations over middleweight champion Anderson Silva’s disinterest in defending the title and has gone as far as to demand an interim championship. While Bisping and Hendricks have very little leverage, it is hard to argue with their points of view.
I understand the UFC was in a bind with UFC 153 but they encouraged this practice by allowing Silva to take an easy fight with Stephan Bonnar at a time when Silva has ignored the top contenders in his division. Now you have a situation where the UFC are willing to take Silva and GSP out of their divisions, Silva possibly for the entire year and it really is not fair to the hard working UFC fighters who earned their opportunities at the titles.
The UFC expects these fighters to wait but the window can be incredibly short for a championship opportunity. If the idea is to win to get a title shot, what are these fighters in the welterweight and middleweight divisions even competing for at this rate? While you could argue whether Hendricks and Bisping deserve title shots, I can certainly empathize with their frustrations.
The Free Johny Hendricks movement begins!