In an exciting championship bout Saturday night (Nov. 16) in Las Vegas, Georges St-Pierre survived the toughest fight of his career, earning a razor-thin split decision over Johny Hendricks to retain his welterweight title at UFC 167.
The scorecards were: 48-47, 47-48, 48-47. When it was read, Hendricks fell to his knees in disappointment.
“Without a doubt, my toughest fight. I couldn’t see out of one of my eyes. He really messed me up,” said the champ, post-right. “I have a bunch of stuff in my life happening. I need to hang up my gloves for a little bit and make a point of [focusing] on my life. I have to step away for a little bit. That’s all I can say right now. I just got punched a little bit. Later on, I’ll make a point on that, but right now I have to go away for a little bit.”
The fight began with GSP taking down the challenger quickly, attempting to establish dominance, but Hendricks recovered and would keep it a stand-up battle for most of the fight. The tides shifted in the second, when Hendricks landed a vicious uppercut that wobbled GSP and followed with some combos, which he would survive. However, by late in the round, his punch output slowed and St-Piere would regain his composure, and began to deliver striking of his own.
In the fourth, GSP slipped during an exchange and Hendricks took advantage, quickly pouncing and delivering some heavy blows, including elbows which opened up deep gash under left eye — the champ later said he was unable to see..
In the fifth and final round, George managed to take down Hendricks … twice, though he was unable to do any real damage.
An upset Hendricks expressed his disappointment and vowed to return… and reclaim what he believes is already his.
“I thought I clearly won the fight,” Hendricks said. “Georges was a great guy. Did you guys see the same fight that I just fought? I’m pretty sure I won. Georges was a great competitor, and my hat is off to him. It sucks, but I’m coming back. I’ll get that belt. It’s mine.”
Also on the card, Robbie Lawler took a split decision win over Rory MacDonald; Rashad Evans knocked out Chael Sonnen in the first round; and Tyron Woodley earned a KO win over Josh Koscheck in the first round, as well.