Dallas based UFC welterweight Johny Hendricks is one win away from finally getting a title shot in the welterweight division. This Saturday night Hendricks faces former UFC interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit and if he wins, he will face the welterweight champion.
The bout between Hendricks and Condit serves as the co-main event for UFC 158 which airs live on pay per view Saturday night at Montreal's Bell Centre.
Hendricks said during today's press conference that even though the title is the ultimate goal he cannot afford to overlook Condit."..if I overlook Carlos Condit he's going to beat my (expletive), so my whole focus is on Carlos Condit and nothing else."
Hendricks, who initially showed much frustration for being overlooked for a title shot, seems to be beyond that and ready to take on the challenge ahead and does not hold it against Nick Diaz. "He (Diaz) did what he had to do to get the fight..." Hendricks told reporters.
However, earlier in the week, Hendricks still seemed a little agitated that champ Georges St-Pierre chose to fight Nick Diaz and not him. "I want to look across the octagon and say, 'You have not faced anyone like me,'" Hendricks said. "Isn't that what [St-Pierre's] little quote is, 'You haven't faced anybody like me,' right? (expletive). You never faced anyone like me. That's why you didn't take the fight."
Coming into his fight with Condit, Hendricks is on a five fight winning streak with his last three wins coming over top contenders. Hendricks knocked out Jon Fitch in twelve seconds, won a close split decision over Josh Koscheck and knocked out Martin Kampmann in forty-two seconds. Both Fitch and Koscheck have challenged for the title in the past.
Hendricks has knockout power in both hands, deceptive quickness, and the ability to catch his opponents off guard by quickly closing the distance. He is also a two-time NCAA Division I wrestling champion.
Condit is coming off of a loss to current champ Georges St-Pierre but is probably the most diverse striker Hendricks has faced not to mention one of the most experienced. Condit has been a champion in both the WEC and the UFC. He is a five tool striker and one of the busiest fighters from off of his back, a place Hendricks will likely look to put Condit.
For Hendricks to win he will have to press forward, close the distance and cut off the cage. Hendricks will need to use a solid combination of stand up mixed with his wrestling to keep Condit guessing much like St-Pierre did. It is unlikely that Hendricks can out point Condit in the stand up department thus he will need to mix it up with feints and level changes to try and get Condit's hands to drop so he can find a home for his big right hand.
Condit will need to circle away from the power of Hendricks. He will need to move in and out with his combinations and to use his technical advantage to out strike Hendricks. Finishing his combos with a head kick will also be an effective attack.
If Hendricks fights smart he can win. He does not want to end up exchanging strikes too much with Condit as the technical advantage is not in his favor. When the fight goes to the ground Hendricks will need to keep a heavy base to avoid being swept by Condit and ending up on his back. You do not want Condit on top of you.
This is a very tough fight to call. Both men have the ability to end the fight with one shot. Condit is the more well-rounded fighter, however, Hendricks strong point is Condit's weakness and that is wrestling.
It is easy to either man winning a decision. Should Hendricks control the fight on the ground he could out wrestle Condit. With that being said, should the fight become a tactical stand up fight Condit could out strike Hendricks.
Let's go with the upset here and take Johny Hendricks for the knockout victory. Hey, he is the local guy. Either way this is with out a doubt the biggest fight in Hendricks career to date. If anyone can spoil another fighter's title dreams it is Carlos Condit.