On Saturday at UFC 167, champion Georges St. Pierre (also known as GSP) barely escaped Nevadaas UFC champion as Johny Hendricks gave him his toughest test to date.
It was a bout that had the entire arena on its feet. From the get-go in the first round, the crowd was chanting for St. Pierre, and they were taken for a roller coaster ride.
St. Pierre managed to land an early takedown on Hendricks, and managed to keep his distance. He used his striking for most of the round. However, Hendricks was able to clip the champion with his signature left hand power punch, and St. Pierre was noticeably wobbled by it.
Round two saw a shocking dominance from Hendricks. He managed to not only take down the champion, but wobble him again with incredibly powerful shots.
It seemed, however, in the third round that Hendricks was starting to tire and St. Pierre used his incredible striking technique to finally find his rhythm and patter Hendricks at range.
Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg at ringside hypothesized that Hendricks may have spent all his energy, but Rogan also suggested another alternative: Hendricks was saving his energy for the championship rounds.
In the fourth round, Hendricks was much more on point. He managed to close the distance to the champion very well. He landed several punches and a few takedowns. It was the most offense that many had seen against the champion in years.
The fourth round was Hendricks' easily, and he left the round smiling as St. Pierre looked very rough.
The fifth saw St. Pierre come out as a desperate man. He managed to land a couple of takedowns on Hendricks, and out struck him once again with his superb kickboxing. The fight ended and many thought that Hendricks would walk away the new champion.
They were wrong.
Though one of three judges gave Hendricks the nod, the other two saw it for St. Pierre, and the Canadian retained his belt by the skin of his teeth.
In the post fight interview, GSP hinted at possibly retiring or taking an extended leave from MMA. Hendricks was all class, visibly disappointed, but giving St. Pierre all the credit in the world for his toughness.
St. Pierrequoted Terminator 2 in saying, "I need a vacation." Safe to say he's earned it.
UFC 167 ended up being a great way to celebrate the 20thanniversary of the promotion.
It saw drama in Robbie Lawler stopping the rise of Rory Macdonald and dramatic finishes as Tyron Woodley KO'd Josh Koscheck and Rashad Evans pounded Chael Sonnen.
It ultimately begins to put a cap on the year where many have questioned if the current champions are the titans they seem to be.
With Jon Jones barely getting past Alexander Gustaffson, Anderson Silva being KOed by Chris Weidman, and St. Pierre barely getting past Hendricks, it's safe to say that the divisions just became a lot more exciting.