The Unstoppable Force vs The Immovable Object – My Take On GSP/Hendricks.
In the main event of UFC 167 we saw Georges St-Pierre defend his Welterweight title for a record 10th time against Johny Hendricks who proved he was more than up to the challenge. However the night ended on a rather sour note for many people watching, when the split decision in GSP's favor was read aloud, the concessions view was that Hendricks won the fight but was getting screwed over by the judges. The crowd in the arena even saw fit to reign boos down on GSP as he was giving a pseudo retirement speech.
The tidal wave of backlash has already eclipsed the fallout from Gus/Jones a few months ago and will probably continue into eternity much like how some people still bellyache about the outcome of Diaz/Condit.
And I know saying this will just put me on the shit list of more than a few people, but I honestly believe the judges got it right last night, in fact I was shocked they got all the matches right. But I'm not here to do a round by round breakdown of how and why GSP won, I'm just giving my opinion on why the fight was so close and hard to score as a result, it was anything but a robbery.
About an hour after the fight ended, I was making my normal comments on the BE Radio thread when the perfect description of the fight hit me. It was the age old paradox.
"What happens when the unstoppable force meets the immovable object?"
This is what I think we saw play out last night in the cage. We had two top tier fighters with similar toolboxes going head to head, their only goal being to beat the other fighter into unconsciousness or into submission. The problem was that both GSP and Hendricks are so good at what they do, they wound up nullifying each other in areas where they normally do their best work.
Going into the fight, GSP was considered one of the best (if not the best) wrestlers in MMA despite having no background in it. Hendricks on the other hand had multiple NCAA wrestling titles to his credit and most recently showcased his abilities by taking Carlos Condit down almost at will.
But what happened when it was fight time? It looked to me like it was more or less a stalemate. They both demonstrated that they could take each other down and stuff their takedowns in kind, but neither of them could do it with any sort of consistency. This wound up leading to a lot of Hendricks just holding GSP against the fence in the later rounds while holding a double leg. On the flip side of that coin several times we saw GSP trap one of Johny's legs and try to drag him away from the fence in hopes securing another takedown of his own.
In the striking department I think most people would agree that GSP is the more skilled striker of the two while Hendricks had a clear power advantage. But once again their abilities just wound up canceling each other out.
GSP did the smart thing by circling away from Johny's atom smasher of a left hand while peppering him with his own eye socket destroying jab along with throwing a few headkicks for good measure. Meanwhile Hendricks constantly looked to land that one shot KO, he never found his target but when he did connect his hits had a bit more stank on them than GSP's. In my eyes neither fighter showed what could be called a clear cut advantage.
I personally scored the fight in favor of GSP 3-2 because of his ability to control the pace of the fight and being the more accurate striker, while Hendricks slowed down noticeably from the third round on and couldn't do much with the takedowns he did get.
While buffer was reading the score cards, I was waiting with baited breath because I could see a case for the fight being ruled a draw or somehow going in Hendrick's favor, but I wouldn't have called "bullshit!" if that came to pass. Like I said at the beginning of this piece, the fight was close and very hard to score, they just did such a good job of neutralizing each other in almost every aspect I imagine it was a nightmare to score if you were sitting cage side.
Feel free to say I'm just biased/blind/ignorant. I'm not trying to change anybody's mind, I'm just giving my thoughts on why I think the judges saw things they way they did. Whether you agreed with them or not doesn't matter at this point, for now GSP is still the champion and will be until he actually retires or someone can manage to knock him off this throne
As for the answer to that paradox? "They surrender."