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Hendricks: I made St-Pierre look mediocre

LAS VEGAS -- Johny Hendricks can't stand it when anyone suggests that longtime UFC kingpin Georges St-Pierre wasn't himself when the two fought in November 2013.

That is why Hendricks (16-2) would want a second fight against St-Pierre (25-2), who narrowly beat him via split decision at UFC 167, only if the semiretired Canadian star was clearly, undeniably back in top form.

"People say, 'Oh, he didn't look good in the first fight,'" Hendricks said. "That's because I made him not look good, you know what I mean?"

St-Pierre, 33, vacated his title shortly after the Hendricks fight, citing a need for a break from mixed martial arts. He suffered a torn ACL in March but resumed workouts in October, fanning speculation about a potential return.

Hendricks, meanwhile, claimed the UFC welterweight title in a unanimous decision win against Robbie Lawler in March. He seeks his first defense in a rematch against Lawler (24-10) at UFC 181 on Saturday.

Traditional thinking would suggest Hendricks would want that official win over St-Pierre for his résumé, but the former NCAA wrestling champion swears he's interested only if St-Pierre comes back with a vengeance.

"I think that first fight threw him for a loop, and I think he might try to come back and change some things up," Hendricks said. "Realistically, if he never comes back, I don't care. Like I tell everybody, I'm not here to beat Georges St-Pierre's record or take away anything he's done in the UFC. I can't. He's too good. He's done too many great things.

"If he comes back, I want him to be the best GSP. That's why I do this. That's why I wanted the target on my back. That's why I wanted to be the welterweight champion, because I know everybody I fight is going to give me everything they have. That's the competition. That's the desire -- the excitement -- that makes me go in there and train. Why am I running four miles in the morning? Oh yeah, because this guy wants to take my belt."

As to whether St-Pierre will return, Hendricks didn't offer much speculation but said he (and his career accomplishments) will survive either way.

"If he's not in it again, there are enough fighters in my weight class that if I can get through all these guys, that will be a legacy of its own," Hendricks said. "If he comes back, yes, I will face him again. I'm not going to shy away from that."