This weekend’s UFC 167 main event has been marketed along similar lines, with Georges St-Pierre’s reign based on well rounded skills and perfectly applied game plans challenged by the sheer knockout power of Johny Hendricks.
However, much like the adage about hard work and talent, technique only beats power when the power lacks technique, and to say that Hendricks lacks skill is a misnomer.
For a start, he has more than a punchers chance, with his NCAA wrestling theoretically giving him the ability to take down GSP at will and keep him there – a greater grappling challenge than GSP has ever faced in the UFC. Secondly, his strikes aren’t wild, they are measured and his cardio never yet been ‘exposed’ as some predict will happen against GSP.
On the flip side, to insinuate that GSP is lacking in power is ridiculous, for all that he hasn’t scored a stoppage victory since regaining his belt from Matt Serra half a decade ago he remains one of the strongest men at 170lbs and this is only made more formidable by his wide range of strikes, and calm head.
As I see it, Hendricks holds the advantage in wrestling and knockout power, while GSP holds the advantage in variety of strikes, general well roundedness and experience, especially over five rounds. It’s a bit more than power vs. technique, isn’t it?
This is arguably the most finely poised GSP fight yet and I can’t wait to see if Rush retains or Big Rigg bags the gold.