Georges St-Pierre says Johny Hendricks will have to wait his turn

UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre says Johny (Bigg Rigg) Hendricks will gets his title shot but Nick Diaz is next.

UFC welterweight champion set to fight Nick Diaz in March

Georges St-Pierre holds the belt at Montreal's Bell Centre after defeating Carlos Condit in their UFC welterweight title fight in November. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre says Johny (Bigg Rigg) Hendricks will gets his title shot but Nick Diaz is next.

Hendricks has accused St-Pierre of ducking him, saying the Montreal mixed martial arts star is afraid of his knockout power.

That drew laughs from St-Pierre.

"He wants to create animosity to make a story, for me to accept the fight," St-Pierre told The Canadian Press. "But I believe the fight with Diaz is more interesting to the public and is the fight people want to see."

"People want the big fight and the bigger fight is Diaz right now," he added.

Hendricks on a roll

Hendricks (14-1) has won five straight including spectacular knockouts of Jon Fitch and Martin (The Hitman) Kampmann to lay his claim as the No. 1 contender at 170 pounds.

Cote to face Voelker

Patrick (The Predator) Cote will make his debut at welterweight against Strikeforce's (Vicious) Bobby Voelker at UFC 158 in Montreal.

Voelker (24-8) has won his last three in Strikeforce.

Cote (19-8) had been slated to meet Alessio Sakara in a rematch on the March 16 card at the Bell Centre. But the Italian middleweight was forced to drop out due to health reasons.

Cote then announced he was dropping down to 170 pounds.

A dazed Cote won when they met at UFC 154 in November after Sakara was disqualified for illegal blows to the head.

The 32-year-old from Montreal has fought 13 times over several stints in the UFC. All have been at middleweight (185 pounds) with the exception of his debut at UFC 50 in October 2004 when he fought Tito Ortiz at light-heavyweight as a late injury replacement.

Cote's 5-8 UFC resume includes a title loss to champion Anderson Silva at UFC 90 in October 2008, when the Canadian blew out his knee and was unable to continue.

Cote reached the final of Season 4 of "The Ultimate Fighter," which featured veterans making a comeback, but lost to Travis Lutter.

— The Canadian Press

But St-Pierre (23-2) says one of those wins should actually be a loss.

"He fought Josh Koscheck. I watched that fight and I would give that fight to Koscheck," the champion said.

Hendricks won by split (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) decision.

St-Pierre requested the Diaz fight, telling UFC boss Dana White it was unfinished business. Diaz (26-8) agreed and White put them in the main event of UFC 158 on March 16 at Montreal's Bell Centre.

The two were slated to meet in October 2011 but Diaz was yanked by the UFC after failing to turn up for news conferences in Toronto and Las Vegas with St-Pierre.

"I just hope he doesn't do anything stupid to cancel the fight [this time]," St-Pierre said. "Because I would be very disappointed. I'm giving him the chance now. It's a big-money fight.

"I believe he's a smart guy. He just acts crazy but I believe he's a smart guy and it will be a good fight."

Diaz is serving a one-year suspension for testing positive for marijuana around his February interim title loss to Carlos (Natural Born Killer) Condit.

St-Pierre beat Condit at UFC 154 last month in his first outing in almost 19 months due to knee surgery.

Hendricks, meanwhile, will face Jake (The Juggernaut) Ellenberger (28-6) on the UFC 158 card.

"Hendricks, no problem. Next time it's going to be Hendricks," said St-Pierre. "I cannot split myself in half.

"Because if I were to fight Hendricks now, Diaz would complain and people would complain. But the big fight right now is Nick Diaz."

Can't please everyone

St-Pierre says he can't make everyone happy.

"When I beat Diaz, now people are going to say 'Now it's Hendricks, why don't you want me?' Someone else will complain. It's like that. When you have the title, people complain.

"It's a very stacked competition, the welterweights. Especially now because I just came back from a long time off so I haven't defended my title for a long time. So there's a lot of guys that believe they deserve the shot more than others. That's why the situation is complicated.

"But I'm not mad at Hendricks. I understand Hendricks, I understand his point. But you know, I cannot split myself in half."

Asked where a proposed super-fight with middleweight champion Anderson Silva fits in his schedule, St-Pierre said he cannot predict the future.

"Right now I focus only on Nick Diaz. We'll see what's going to be the situation after the fight because the situation might change. We'll see what's going to happen."

The 31-year-old St-Pierre, who plans to spend Christmas with his family, says he has no plans to retire.

"I don't know when I'm going to want to finish. Right now I'm very happy and I plan to do this for a long time. We'll see how it goes."