Johny Hendricks was a split decision victory, (and maybe better judging), away from being the UFC welterweight champion. St-Pierre got the nod and then walked away from the sport. Would Hendricks like the opportunity fight St-Pierre? Of course, but that's not his primary goal:
"I want the target on my back," he said. "I want everybody to come after me. That’s been my goal since I started fighting. Is that I want the gold and I want everybody to sit there saying, ‘I want to beat that guy.’ And that’s been my whole thought process through this whole time, [because] I need that. For some reason I enjoy that kind of pressure. The more pressure you can put on me and get me out of my comfort zone, the better I shine. And that’s what I wanted."
And for Hendricks, the symbol of the belt itself has always carried greater significance than defeating an icon in the game. He made that clear before he fought St-Pierre at UFC 167, and he sticks by that idea now. When a future rematch with St-Pierre was brought up -- the magnitude of which would be severe if Hendricks was reigning 170-pound champion as he returned -- Hendricks reiterated his patented the-title-means-more-than-the-man mantra.
"I don’t care about that," he said. "Here’s the thing, if I fight GSP again I fight him again. If I don’t, I don’t. My world doesn’t revolve around him. It revolves around that belt. And that’s what I’ve been saying this whole time. I’m not fighting GSP, I want what he carried around to all those press conferences, that’s what I was fighting for, and that’s still what I’m fighting for."
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