UFC top welterweight contender Johny Hendricks said he is still holding out hope that his next fight will be for the title. Hendricks said he'd sign up for a non-title fight, but has no interest in fighting Jake Shields, whose recent Twitter challenge he said he found amusing.
Hendricks said Monday on The MMA Hour broadcast with host Ariel Helwani:
I laugh. He doesn't advance my cause at all. My cause is to be a number one contender. I think he was 2-2 in the UFC at 170. What he's trying to do, I don't blame him. I have a target on my back. And I like that position. But I just want the belt in my hand.
Hendricks said he is still hoping to face GSP next, though he won't necessarily refuse a different opponent:
Saying I don't want anything less [than a title shot] is not a disrespect to anyone else, but you see the light at the end of the tunnel, and then someone tries to send you a curveball. But if there's someone else I have to fight, I leave that to my manager and Joe Silva...But I'm really, really hoping that it's GSP, maybe in April, maybe in May. We'll see.
Shields' tweet, since deleted but available here, advised Hendricks to "quit crying...and fight me next" after Hendricks expressed disappointment after being apparently passed over for a welterweight title shot, despite winning three straight over top contenders.
St-Pierre purportedly told the UFC he would prefer to face Nick Diaz next. Diaz is currently serving a suspension and will be available to fight in February. In his last bout, Diaz lost to Carlos Condit, whom St-Pierre defeated at UFC 154.
Hendricks said he would blame St-Pierre, not the UFC, if Diaz received the next title shot:
GSP came to them...Give me that shot. If I win, awesome. And they can still fight. And if I lose, then they can still fight.
Hendricks dismissed the idea that Diaz's persistent taunting of St-Pierre (and, presumably, the high level of interest such a grudge match would create) justifies Diaz receiving the fight:
[Diaz] is on suspension and I'm actually fighting to get my title shot. I'm more mad at GSP for calling somebody else out. I think [GSP] is trying to stay away from me. What other reason is there? I've tried to analyze it every other way. Other than that, it would just be because [Diaz] talked trash. But who cares? I train with guys who talk trash to me every single day...Who cares about the past? You have unfinished business? Well so do I. GSP takes it away from me, so now I have unfinished business with GSP.