While UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre appears to be aiming for a November return to the octagon, interim welterweight champ Carlos Condit (28-5 MMA, 5-1 UFC) recently revealed he's got a backup plan.
On Monday's new edition of HDNet's "Inside MMA," Condit said he'd be happy to defend his belt against Martin Kampmann if St-Pierre's injured knee proves problematic.
That came as a shocking revelation to fellow top contender Johny Hendricks (13-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC), who has one simple question for Condit: What about me?
"Carlos Condit, he said he wanted to fight Kampmann," Hendricks told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio
). "He called out Kampmann, and he's done a couple of interviews where he hasn't even mentioned my name as a top contender. I'm the No. 1 contender, and if he's going to be fighting anyone, I think it should be me."
Prior to Hendricks' May win over perennial contender Josh Koscheck, UFC president Dana White said a title shot hung in the balance for the Team Takedown fighter. Following the victory, Hendricks said he would be fine waiting for the winner of the planned November title-unification bout between St-Pierre and Condit.
But Kampmann's recent win over Jake Ellenberger has led some MMA pundits to suggest the "Hitman" could either face Hendricks in a future No. 1 contender bout or even leapfrog "Bigg Rigg" should Condit need a replacement opponent for St-Pierre.
Condit on Monday confirmed his interest in such a scenario, citing a desire to avenge the lone loss of his UFC career.
That doesn't sit well with Hendricks, who thinks Condit should be willing to defend his interim title against all challengers rather than sit idly by waiting for St-Pierre to heal or hand-picking his opponents.
"We have an interim belt, and interim belts are for one reason: for people to be able to still fight for a title," Hendricks said. "I feel like I've done everything I could to get that No. 1 spot, and somebody else is keeping it from me. I don't get upset about many things, but I feel like I've done what I could to put me where I'm at today.
"The good Lord has blessed me. The fans have been awesome, and I've gone out there and done everything I could to put me in a situation for the belt. Carlos Condit is in my way. He really is. If I can't fight him, and he won't fight other people, now who do I fight?"
Riggs current win streak boasts Koscheck, Jon Fitch, Mike Pierce and T.J. Waldburger, and he said he could be ready to fight Condit as early as September, which could potentially still allow for a December return by St-Pierre to face the winner and unify the titles.
With that in mind, Hendricks believes Condit should be willing to put his interim belt on the line.
"I think you have to earn respect, and I think I did," Hendricks said. "For someone to sit there and bypass me like that, it's like he's saying that I'm not even good enough to be in his realm, and I think I am.
"I think I have what it takes to get in there and to win. I want that chance."