LAS VEGAS, Nev. - The fight isn't until Saturday night but the gloves came off Wednesday in the buildup to UFC 167.
"I can't wait to freaking deck the crap out of him," challenger Johny (Bigg Rigg) Hendricks said of UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre. "I want his eyes to roll back in his head. That's my goal."
Hendricks, who has said in the past that he has nothing against the Canadian champion, tried to take the edge off those words by saying he approached every bout that way.
But the two fighters' bickering over drug-testing has been bubbling for some months now and the debate boiled over Wednesday when Hendricks, apparently irate at a comment GSP made in a TV interview minutes earlier, essentially accused St-Pierre of using performance enhancing-drugs.
"Have you seen him in the last two months," Hendricks asked. "He's shrunk a little bit hasn't he?"
Hendricks (15-1) also pointed to St-Pierre's buff body in the cage after rehydrating following the weigh-in the day before fights.
"Check out my pictures, I'm fat ... You don't gain 15, 20 pounds and still get that form. Everybody bloats a little bit. You don't put 20 pounds of water in your system without ballooning."
Hendricks will weigh in Friday at 170 and then enter the cage Saturday night at around 195-200.
The two fighters have been at odds over drug testing with St-Pierre asking Hendricks to sign up for the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association, a Nevada-based non-profit outfit that runs drug-screening programs for athletes, in addition to the normal tests conducted by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
The Hendricks camp eventually declined, explained that they would be at disadvantage because St-Pierre had a relationship with VADA that included being featured on their website. And that the Nevada commission told him not to go with VADA.
Hendricks and St-Pierre have been bickering ever since, with St-Pierre even tweeting the results of his test from the WADA-accredited (World Anti-Doping Association) UCLA Olympic Analytical Lab.
Hendricks, normally happy and gregarious, adding confrontational to his mood menu Wednesday after hearing second-hand reports that St-Pierre told a TV interviewer to read between the lines, that he was doing additional testing and the challenger wasn't.
That quickly mushroomed as Hendricks met the media on the stage of the Hollywood Theatre at the MGM Grand, where magician David Coppefield was to go on stage hours later.
"What I don't have respect for is him saying I'm on steroids when he knows nothing about me," Hendricks said of the champion. "Has anybody accused me of steroids? has anybody accused me of being on growth (human growth hormone)?
"Hell no. ... I've been clean my whole entire life. And all of a sudden some dude (who) doesn't know me, he's been accused the last six years of being on something, he picks me and says I must be on something because I don't want to follow the pony train to VADA. Get out of here."
While saying he had no proof about St-Pierre, who has also had to endure similar cheating jibes from B.J. Penn and Nick Diaz in the past, Hendricks kept pointing a fuzzy finger.
"Who cares. If you want to be on it, be on it. If you don't, who cares. Don't try to drag my name through the mud because the last six years you're too scared to do it."
Hendricks also said he just wants to fight the best GSP there is. "If that's on something, that's on something, if it's not, it's not. I'm not sweating."
Hendricks did say if he wins Saturday, he will sign up for WADA's rigorous out-of-competition testing with WADA on his own dime.
"I win the belt, I have the money, I'll piss. Because like I said I can afford it."
The challenger accused St-Pierre of trying to play mind games with him on the eve of the fight.
"It gives me a lot of motivation ... The only thing is it's going to make me hit him that much harder."
The war of words, at least temporarily, took a shine off a long-awaited fight between the champion and No. 1 contender, whose wrestling skills and punching power are seen as a real threat for the title.
Hendricks' irritation followed a positively serene session with St-Pierre, who was revelling in being able to roll with UFC Hall of Famer Royce Gracie during the public workouts.
"He is my idol," St-Pierre said in French after.
St-Pierre (24-2) can make history against Johny Hendricks at UFC 167 on Saturday night, becoming the first fighter to record 19 wins in the UFC.
The Canadian champion is currently tied with UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes, whom he first beat for the title, at 18 victories.
GSP is also tied with former middleweight champion Anderson Silva for most wins in UFC title bouts at 11. And if the Hendricks fight lasts 40 seconds or longer, St-Pierre will surpass B.J. Penn's record of five hours three minutes and 51 seconds for career fight time in the UFC
The fight card also marks the 20th anniversary of the UFC, which kicked off Nov. 12, 1993, with UFC 1 in Denver.
St-Pierre made his UFC debut at UFC 46 in January 2004.