Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight number one contender Johny Hendricks was able to defeat Carlos Condit in the co-main event of UFC 158: "St. Pierre vs. Diaz," which took place last Saturday night (March 16, 2013) at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
"Bigg Rigg" will move on to fight division champion Georges St. Pierre at a later date.
As for Carlos Condit, he now heads to the back of the line. Well, probably more like the middle of the line, since his loss prior to Hendricks was in a title fight against St. Pierre. And, if it's any consolation, "The Natural Born Killer" is also going back to Albuquerque $50,000 richer after winning a "Fight of the Night" bonus.
But calling it the best fight out of 12 would be selling it short.
It's the kind of fight you show people and say, "Hey, check out this thing called mixed martial arts (MMA)." After all, that's why I got into the sport. Kickboxing has been around for a long time. Boxing? Even longer. So I don't get all gooey when two guys "stand and bang" for three rounds.
Nor do I need a cold shower after 15 minutes of wrestling.
Hendricks vs. Condit had it all. Aside from the obvious, which was striking and grappling, we had the overlooked areas like cage control and aggression. Both fighters brought it. It's also important to note that cardio was not an issue, considering the ridiculous pace they set in round one.
And this was a fight with serious title implications.
That helped add to the drama. Two men fighting for a chance to get the next shot St. Pierre and with Jake Ellenberger putting Nate Marquardt to sleep, they needed a stellar performance to outshine "The Juggernaut" and lay rightful claim to the title of number one contender.
I suppose the one thing this fight didn't have was a finish, but pasting someone in the opening frame does not make a great fight, it makes a great ending. There's a very strong chance Hendricks will go five rounds against the champion, a 25-minute fate suffered by his six predecessors.
I needed to know he could keep up.
He did, by beating one of the best fighters in his weight class in one of the best fights in his weight class. Maybe not of all time, but certainly of this year. It makes an effective argument against the naysayers who claim MMA is nothing more than two guys swinging for the fences until somebody drops.
We get that sometimes, but not tonight. Not in this fight.
And they did it without talking trash, engaging in a Twitter feud or shoving each other at the weigh ins. The crowd cheered, they fought admirably and turned in a "Fight of the Night" performance. When it was over, the winner got a shot at the strap.
Isn't this how it's supposed to be?
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