Clearly you like the word "objectively", and I always debate "objectively" other than when talking about BJ Penn, who was the inspirational drive behind my love for MMA, so i sort of always lean towards him and maybe my heart can tend to rake over
Jonny Hendricks is riding the crest of a wave and has momentum, Barao is slightly different circumstance, he is genuinely "elite" in skill-set but lacking in achievement, Hendricks is not and i believe never will be "elite" in skill-set, and St Pierre will absolutely decimate him
Machida has been a UFC champion, in a division housing superstars, and when he was the champion, 205 was unequivocally the elite division in world MMA, to compare Hendricks to somebody like Machida is like comparing Ricky Burns to Miguel Cotto, its ludicrous!
Lets look at his current run of form
Shogun - Loss by KO 1, Shogun at this time was rooted in the top 5 P4P and will go down as probably the #1 or #2 LHW of all time, as it stands, not a great deal of shame in that
Rampage - Loss UD, You my friend are not looking at this objectively, and ill tell you why .......... this was the best version of Rampage since he fought Forrest Griffin IMHO, if you have studied Rampage which i have, its easy to pick the fights he was in shape for, and this was one of them, fleet footed, good movement, no cardio issues, striking was crisp, this was a good version of Rampage, no doubt about it, and Machida beat him 2 rounds to 1!
Couture - Win by KO - Not much to say, other than another showcase of what Machida can do, Randy was a static target and couldn't get his range to apply strategy, therefore it was straight forward for Machida.
Jones - Loss Sub 2 - Machida claims he was ordered not to fight buy his Family doctor due to illness, whatever! he lost decisively to the current champ who is frankly looking rather special! and underlines the word elite
Bader - He has his limits, and yes he's probably B class at best, but ill say this, the way Machida dealt with him underlines his ability, Bader had no business being in the same cage, another straight forward win for him!
All this by the way was preceded by a 15 fight win streak leading to the demolition of Rashad Evans!
Machida is the elite of the sport, he's been a champion and may be a champion again, Hendricks is only just reaching top contender status, and will never be a dominant figure in the WW division, further to that, he will not finish top guys one after the next at the very top level the way Machida has and will do in the future
Im praying for Phil Davis or Alexander Gustaffson to step up and fight him, because they will be surgically picked to shreds, Gustaffson is being haled as the next coming of Anderson Silva, and Davis is is a highly regarded top level fighter who isnt on Machida's list of victims!
Im sorry they dont compare