Hendricks on Ellenberger: 'One shot can put you away'
Following his knockout win over Martin Kampmann in November, welterweight contender Johny Hendricks was under the impression that the only obstacle left for him to overcome was champion Georges St. Pierre.
Much to his dismay, Hendricks discovered that the champion had other plans, calling for a fight against Nick Diaz, which has been scheduled for UFC 158.
Now, Hendricks meets Jake Ellenberger, also at UFC 158 in Montreal.
And he believes his opponent is even more of a threat than St. Pierre due to one main factor: knockout power.
In a recent interview with Sherdog's Beatdown Radio, Hendricks explained why Ellenberger's hands are scarier than the skill set of GSP.
"He's shown that he can knock people out, and whenever you have that kind of power, you have to respect it. You have to know, ‘OK, this guy is a heavy-handed guy.' One shot can put you away. That's what makes fighting people like that a little bit more of a challenge, a fun challenge, because no matter what happens -- it might be the second or third round -- you still have to worry about everything. It makes it that much more exciting .... (with) Georges St. Pierre, you don't have to worry about that knockout punch. You've just got to worry about getting taken down. (With) Ellenberger, you've got to worry about the punch and also his take downs."
"It's not that it's a more difficult (fight) but, it's a little bit more dangerous, you know what I'm saying? Like I said, you don't know which punch will be the last. With GSP, you know where he's going to want to take it, you know he's not going to want to stand with you. He's going to want to go in there set up his jab, throw a few leg kicks, or he's going to get you to the perimeter, to that black line, and you know a double leg is coming. Ellenberger, he is going to try to knock you out before he takes you down."
This brings up the interesting question of which type of opponent is more intimidating: the guy who has won four of his last seven fights by either KO or TKO, or the guy who hasn't lost a fight in just about six years. Ellenberger's early rushes and punching barrages have definitely caught a few of his past opponents off guard, most notably Jake Shields and Sean Pierson.
St. Pierre, on the other hand, hasn't finished a fight in three years.
Hendricks' respect of Ellenberger's style also comes from the fact that the only other welterweight who has been known to try to take his opponent's head off the second the match starts is Hendricks himself. Maybe the reason he finds Ellenberger to be more dangerous than St. Pierre is because Jake will probably try to win the fight the same way he will at UFC 158.
Either way, it's good to know that he is acknowledging how another test of skills will prepare him even more for a potential shot at the UFC welterweight championship.
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