Hendricks: You Have To Destroy Champ To Win The Title
It would appear that Johny Hendricks sympathizes with Dominick Reyes.
Reyes challenged Jon Jones for the light heavyweight title in the UFC 247 headliner in February. Having pushed “Bones” to the limit, many observers felt he did enough to win the decision. However, Jones would end up coming out on top with the unanimous decision verdict as it drew plenty of controversy.
Hendricks was a victim of the judges too. The now-retired former UFC welterweight champion initially fought for the belt against longtime champion Georges St-Pierre back in 2013.
And after dominating and hurting St-Pierre for much of the fight, many in the combat sports world thought we had a new champion — only for “GSP” to win the split decision verdict. St-Pierre retired soon after with Hendricks eventually becoming champion after defeating Robbie Lawler for the vacant title.
At the same time, there was some regret that he didn’t have a win over St-Pierre on his record mainly due to the judges on the night.
“After that [St-Pierre] fight, I went home, and then we went to Disney World and that’s when I found out I was fighting Robbie Lawler for the belt,” Hendricks told BJPenn.com. “So, I didn’t have much time to kick back and rewatch.
“The fans knew what happened. I think I got more fans off that fight because I handled the loss well. Even though I did lose, the way I handled myself afterward. Now, that I’m retired I don’t really worry about it. It did bother me at the time, like not having a win over GSP hurt me. But, now that I look back, everything happens for a reason and I got a title shot anyway and won the belt in Texas. It’s the hard part of the career knowing your life is in the judges hands.”
There is a belief in mixed martial arts that you have to do considerably more than the champion to win the title; not just edge them out.
Hendricks used Jones as an example of this with two of his last three fights — which includes a split decision win over Thiago Santos — having debatable verdicts.
“Right now, I don’t think it does anything,” Hendricks added of having a win over St-Pierre. “But, then, if I beat GSP, the next time I fight maybe I don’t lose a close decision to Lawler [in the rematch]. They say you have to beat the champ to be the champ. You have to destroy the champ in order to win the belt.
“I’ve seen Jon Jones lose multiple times but still held onto the title. I think I would’ve been the champion a little longer. But, fate wasn’t on my side. You just deal with what you got.”
Something to think about for Jones’ next title challenger whether it’s Reyes again or Jan Blachowicz.