Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Bloody Elbow presents their UFC 158 fight card primer, previewing all the action at UFC 158: St. Pierre vs. Diaz. Here, we look at Carlos Condit vs. Johny Hendricks.
The co-main event at UFC 158: St. Pierre vs. Diaz sees former interim UFC Welterweight champion Carlos Condit (28-6 MMA; 5-2 UFC) face the seemingly unstoppable Johny Hendricks (14-1 MMA; 9-1 UFC). This three round Welterweight fight is the 4th of five fights on the PPV broadcast. The UFC 158 PPV airs this Saturday night, March 16, with the main card beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. PT.
This was originally set to be two separate fights - Condit vs. Rory MacDonald, and Hendricks vs. Jake Ellenberger. An injury to MacDonald forced him out and the card was shuffled to this fight. Which is in many respects actually a good thing. The winner here pretty much has to be the #1 contender to the GSP vs. Diaz winner, setting up either a Condit rematch, or Hendricks's much deserved shot. These are two very tough fighters, and with that extra title implication on the line, expect them to bring their absolute best.
How do these two stack up?
Condit: 28 years old | 6'2" | 76" reach
Hendricks: 29 years old | 5'9" | 69" reach
What have these two done recently?
How did these two get here?
Carlos Condit came to the UFC in 2009, losing his debut to Martin Kampmann. But ever since then, he's been on a roll. The long time Jackson/Winkeljohn trainee won his next 5, defeating some major names including Nick Diaz, Jake Ellenberger, and Rory MacDonald. After defeating Diaz in something of an upset, Condit was the interim champion. He sat out, waiting for GSP to return, and last November, he got his shot at Rush. That fight was a hard fought win for GSP, but Condit proved that he belongs at the top of the division even in his loss. With close fights against both Diaz and GSP, another Condit title shot is a definite possibility.
Johny Hendricks clearly should be the one fighting GSP here. He's been on an incredible run as of late, defeating Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck, and Martin Kampmann in succession. He's scored those wins with a combination of his grinding wrestling and an absolute bomb of a KO punch - the best 1 punch power in the Welterweight division. But because of the Diaz/GSP beef, Hendricks is pushed down to the co-main event. Now, he needs to prove he deserves that shot one more time. If he beats Condit here, I can't envision how you could deny him the next title shot.
Why should you care?
Condit is entertaining 100% of the time, and Hendricks's power makes every moment of a fight threatening. These two match up well, and this should be a killer fight.