Carlos “The Natural Born Killer” Condit (28-6-0) vs. Johny “Bigg Rigg” Hendricks (14-1-0)
Johny Hendricks took a lot of flack from Jake Ellenberger for taking this fight with Carlos Condit when Rory MacDonald dropped out, but this fight may be better than the original match-up. Plus, if MacDonald beats Condit, it meant nothing in terms of rankings since he will supposedly never fight for the title as long as Georges St. Pierre has it.
Hendricks has huge power in his hands, and a lot of people believe he will win by knockout. The problem is that is something no one has ever been able to do before to Condit. This is also the biggest height and reach disadvantage that Hendricks has ever faced in a fight, since Condit is five inches taller and has seven more inches of reach. Hendricks will also have to deal with the diverse striking game of Condit, because the New Mexico native has knocked people out by head-kick and flying knees, whereas Hendricks is usually just a straight puncher.
There is a chance that Hendricks will get the knockout, and no one has really tested Hendricks’ submission defense. Condit is a monster on the ground, and he showed that in his fight with GSP by trying to submit the champion any chance he had. The problem is that he will most likely not be able to get this fight to the ground based on Hendricks Division 1 wrestling credentials. So unless Hendricks takes it to the ground, the fight will most likely be contested on the feet.
The Bottom Line:
Unless Hendricks can land his knockout punch, or is content to hold Condit to the ground, he will not win this fight. In Hendricks’ only loss, he was out-struck by a more active stand-up fighter in Rick Story and that is the key to Condit’s win. His active striking will slow Hendricks down enough so he can earn TKO in the third round when Hendricks tires.