Hendricks repeatedly kneed St-Pierre in the clinch with the champion using kicks to keep him away when they separated. It was a good round for the challenger.
Between rounds, St-Pierre’s corner told him to box and wrestle, not just box.
Hendricks scored with uppercuts but GSP got a reprieve when Hendricks lost his mouthpiece. At the fence, Hendricks used knees to soften up the champion, who fought back with his jab and kicks.
Hendricks seemed to be slowing slightly as the round ended. But St-Pierre’s face showed damage.
In the third, St-Pierre was busy with strikes as the fight remained standing. Hendricks was not as active but scored a late takedown, only to see GSP fight his way back to his feet.
St-Pierre jabbed and kicked in the fourth to a thundering chant of “GSP, GSP.” The champion found himself on his back, seemingly from a slip, allowing Hendricks to score damage from above. Hendricks surprisingly let a bloodied GSP get back to his feet so they could resume punching.
St-Pierre came out desperate in the fifth, taking the fight to Hendricks. He scored with strikes and then took him down. But the challenger did not break.
St-Pierre continues to rewrite the UFC record book.
It was a record 19th win in the UFC for St-Pierre, moving him past Hall of Famer Matt Hughes at 18. It also extended his string of victories to 12, the longest current run in the UFC.
St-Pierre has not lost since his first title defence in April 7, 2007, when 10-1 underdog Matt (The Terror) Serra knocked him out three minutes 25 seconds into the first round at UFC 69 in Houston. Three fights later, at UFC 83 in April 2008, St-Pierre avenged the loss and won his title back
The victory moved GSP past former middleweight champion Anderson Silva for most wins in UFC title bouts at 12.
Saturday’s win was GSP’s ninth successful title defence and ninth straight title defence, one behind Silva in each category. And it was his 14th championship fight, one behind Randy Couture.
St-Pierre came into the bout holding the UFC mark for most championship rounds fought (47).
Earlier, veteran (Ruthless) Robbie Lawler won a split decision over Canadian welterweight Rory (Ares) MacDonald in a wild back-and-forth fight that was judged 29-28, 28-29, 29-28 for the underdog Lawler.
MacDonald (15-2) drew criticism from White for his performance last time out in a win over Jake Ellenberger. But he got plenty of love Saturday, at least early on from the crowd.
He walked out to cheers and Rihanna’s “We Found Love.” The ovation grew as he was introduced in the cage and there were chants of “Rory, Rory” within the first minute.
The chant changed to “Robbie, Robbie” in the third round as the 31-year-old Lawler (22-9 with one no contest) knocked the Canadian down and punished him. A tired MacDonald managed a late takedown and some ground and pound of his own, finishing the fight with a flurry of blows.
The 24-year-old MacDonald, who came into the fight a 4-1 favourite, was ranked third among welterweight contenders while Lawler was No. 10.
A native of Kelowna, B.C., who trains alongside GSP in Montreal, MacDonald has said he won’t fight St-Pierre. Saturday’s loss will take care of that, at least for the time being.
Lawler was aggressive in a close first round with MacDonald looking to use movement, kicks and jabs to blunt his opponent’s attack or spin out of range. Lawler kept coming in the second round but seemed to be tiring. And when he slowed, MacDonald countered. He also scored a takedown to take the round.
In the co-main event, former light-heavyweight champion Rashad Evans pounded out a first-round TKO over Chael Sonnen in a fight between friends and co-workers as Fox TV analysts.
After they clinched at the fence, Evans (24-3-1) managed to take Sonnen (29-14-1) down and then improved his position, taking his back and hammering away until referee Herb Dean stepped in at 4:05.
Earlier, Tyron Woodley knocked out veteran welterweight Josh Koscheck at 4:38 of the first round.