UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre has taken on challengers of all sizes and skill sets during his tenure as the 170-pound division's top dog. But tonight, he'll be facing an opponent that brings a combination of threats to the table that the champion has never before seen. Johny Hendricks is an elite wrestler with undeniable knockout power and an arguable advantage in size and strength -- and he's charging headfirst at St-Pierre's belt.
In addition to those skills, Hendricks also has a lifetime of competition under his belt and supreme confidence in his ability to dethrone the champ. Having tapped into his wrestling roots in preparation for this fight has only added to his assuredness. Now, the four-time All-American is just looking forward to bringing the rest of the world up to speed.
"I have a couple of things," Hendricks said in regards to what he brings to the table in this fight. "I have the power to make people forget. I have the wrestling. I've wrestled all my life. I went back to Oklahoma State to train for this fight. I have everything to beat GSP and I just can't wait to prove it."
Of course, GSP has dismantled decorated collegiate wrestlers in the past. On top of being the best of those that the champ has faced though, Hendricks isn't caught up in the hype around St-Pierre's own wrestling skills. He sees the champ at being proficient at a specific kind of grappling that he thinks he can shut down tonight.
"I don't think he can go into the Oklahoma State wrestling room and win a match," he said of St-Pierre's wrestling. "MMA wrestling is totally different. Guys are standing a lot taller and he has a long reach for our division. Hopefully I can squash that this Saturday."
The biggest X-factor leading into the bout and the aspect of Hendricks' game that most see as his greatest advantage is his power. Hendricks punches like he belongs in a weight class or two above welterweight. Given his actual size, that's no surprise.
"I walk at 220 pounds, and I'll get in the Octagon around 200 pounds," said Hendricks. "Most of GSP's competitors get in about 185. He's not ready for the power that I possess. I can't wait to shock him."
Tune in to our live coverage of the UFC 167: St-Pierre vs. Hendricks pay-per-view, which begins today at 3:30p.m. PT/6:30p.m. ET, to see whether or not Hendricks presents the perfect storm to dethrone the champ.
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