It was November 16, 2013, and Dana White’s new love child was going to fight the champ at the MGM Grand. GSP was on the way out and White knew it, GSP was contemplating retirement for some time and White put his money on Hendricks to take GSP out. At the time GSP was the
bread winner of the UFC, and you can’t let a bread winner retire on top, you need someone to replace him by beating him. White thought Hendricks was the man to do just that.
White did everything he could to undermine GSP’s retirement and his reasons for retirement. Making comments to the press that GSP’s issues were not as significant as GSP was making them out to be. As for the fight itself, White went above and beyond to convince everyone that GSP lost the fight. And if you looked at their faces after the fight you would think that too. GSP looked beaten up while Hendricks looked fresh.
But GSP often looked beaten up in fights with heavy-handed strikers, he typically gets marred up. He’s not a bleeder like some fighters but he does get bruised and battered. Case in point if you look at what GSP looked like after his fight with Condit you’d swear he lost that fight too. But he won it handedly. If you compare GSP’s face after Condit vs his fight with Hendricks, Condit beat him up more than Hendricks did. And Condit was one of the very few fighters that made GSP bleed. GSP even once said when he was asked who he fought who hit the hardest and his answer was Condit. The photo is GSP after the Condit fight that happened on November the 17th, 2012. So you can’t look at a face after a fight to determine who won, it doesn’t work that way. Some fighters are bleeders, some bruise easily, some just don’t have that think cow skin of fighters like Hendricks. Take a really good look at the photo, Condit only landed 36 significant strikes compared to Hendricks 85 and GSP looks worse than he did after Hendricks. Just imagine if Condit had landed 85.
And GSP has never been known as a heavy-handed striker, he’s a jabber. With the occasional Superman punch. He’s not going to knock you out with one punch, hell he might hit you 40 times and still not knock you out. He wins fights by doing more than the other guy. More strikes, more take-downs, more submission attempts, etc. To those who say that GSP is boring, or just lays on people, obviously haven’t seen his early matches or some of the wars he’s been in. When you’re the champ there is no such thing as an easy fight. Every fight is against a number one contender who wants to take that belt away from you. Yes, I would agree, that after he got knocked out by Matt Serra he became a much more cautious fighter, after all who wants to get punched so hard you don’t even know where you are.
But let’s get back to Hendricks. White says GSP lost that fight, but did he. I watched the fight 3 times and came to the same conclusion each time 3 rounds to 2 for GSP. And the UFC own stats page of the fight bears out that same conclusion. Per round and overall.
So if you look at the stats from the UFC itself it’s hard to understand White’s insistence that GSP lost the fight. Other than basing that opinion solely upon looking at the faces after the fight, which we already explained above. Per the first image the UFC has GSP landing 101 significant strikes over Hendricks 85. With GSP landing 45% and Hendricks landing 43%. The second photo shows that even though Hendricks was more successful with head shots, GSP won handedly shots to the body. And the per round portion of that same photo shows GSP winning rounds 3 and 5 convincingly and winning round 1 by a nose. So what we have here from the UFC itself is GSP winning 3 rounds and having 16 more significant strikes. How then does White come to the conclusion GSP lost the fight when the UFC stats of the fight clearly show that GSP won the fight.
The last image shows the last 4 fights GSP had, and even though Hendricks did better than the other 3 statistically, he still lost the fight. According to the UFC GSP had more significant strikes and more takedowns than Hendricks did. To anyone who is knowledgeable about MMA and how fights are scored that is a win.
The fact is White has never seen eye to eye with GSP, I’m sure he appreciated how much money the UFC was pulling in having GSP around but I don’t think he ever got over seeing his buddy Matt Hughes losing to him. There’s no doubt that White threw the very best he had against GSP, in a division that was swarming with top dogs at the time, in the hope that one would best him. And one did, Serra. Although it was very short lived. The rematch was a one-sided affair in favor of GSP.
The fact is, according to the UFC itself, GSP won the fight, despite that White tried to convince people otherwise. Apparently White doesn’t read his own website.
( images courtesy of sportsnet.ca and sport.bt.com )