LAS VEGAS — Johny Hendricks said he believed he'd won three of the first four rounds Saturday night in his Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight title fight against Georges St-Pierre.
"I thought from two minutes in it was my fight," Hendricks said late Saturday night. "I was handling everything. I thought I went out in the fourth round and secured my win. Fifth round, I was thinking, 'Stay active, don't change anything.' That wasn't the right game plan, obviously."
Instead, Nevada judges Sal D'Amato and Tony Weeks gave St-Pierre (25-2) the first and third rounds. They gave him the fifth too, allowing him to retain his belt while leaving Hendricks (15-2) miffed.
"I didn't prove it to them, that won't happen again," Hendricks said in the post-fight news conference. "I'm going to come back stronger, I'm going to come back faster. I'm going to bust my butt to get that belt."
Hendricks, a two-time NCAA wrestling champion, at times was near tears after watching a belt he believed was his kept by a badly beaten-up St-Pierre, whose swollen and bloodied face was a result of getting belted by a challenger who "hit like a truck," St-Pierre said.
"I just beat the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world," Hendricks argued. "Look at him and look at me. My hands are busted up from hitting him in the face. The belt's not here, it stinks. I promise you that belt will be mine. I just want the belt, that's the only thing that's pushing me, the only thing that's motivating me. I'm only going to get better."
Hendricks said he effectively answered pre-fight questions if he had the cardio to last five rounds, noting he threw punches with "70%" of his power. "I was rocking him. If I get to see him in the ring again, it won't go the distance. I will finish him."
"I took it to the champ … and it was enough," Hendricks said, prompting UFC President Dana White to counter, "It wasn't enough. You left it in the hands of the judges. You better do 100%."
Said Hendricks: "Yes, thank you, Dana. ... The judges sort of ripped my heart out."
After St-Pierre told the crowd and reporters after the fight that he needs time off to deal with personal issues, Hendricks said he'll leave the resolution of what happens to the UFC welterweight belt to White and UFC Chairman Lorenzo Fertitta.
"Of course I want the title," Hendricks said.