Monday, April 19, 2021

The curious case of Johny Hendricks

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Nearly four years ago, Johny Hendricks was called the man that retired Georges St – Pierre. During the post fight press conference, only one reporter thought that GSP had won the fight. Everyone else believed Hendricks was robbed of the victory.

Johny bounced back emphatically, winning the UFC Welterweight title in March 2014. Ironically, his downward spiral coincided with his peak.

Rolling back the years, Johny Hendricks was one of the best high school wrestlers in Oklahoma City. He was also a two time high school national champion. In 2004, Johny came fifth in the NCAA Division I Championships – in the 157 pound category.

On the contrary, his opponent for UFC Fight Night 112, Tim Boetsch competed at 284 pounds during his time with the Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania back in 2002.

Yet going into their fight yesterday, it was Johny that had trouble making weight.

This wasn’t the first time Johny had trouble making weight before a fight. From being a champion in the 170 pound division, to not being able to make weight at 185, it has been quite the fall from grace for ‘Bigg Rigg’. However, things got even worse for the former UFC Welterweight Champion.

Johny Hendricks goes 2 – 5 in his past seven fights

 The curious case of Johny Hendricks -

Going into the fight with Tim, Johny knew one thing – he had to make an impact at middleweight. We’ve seen the likes of Cerrone and Kelvin Gastelum put on excellent performances in higher weight classes. For Johny, it wasn’t just about getting the ‘W’. He had to show the world that he was still the same calibre fighter that almost retired Georges St – Pierre.

But if his fight with Tim was any indication, we might never see the old Hendricks. Instead, we saw someone that just didn’t have the same dedication anymore. Hendricks carried more weight into the cage, looked sloppy, and only had the over hand left that he tried time and again.

It became relatively easy for Boetsch to scout Johny’s movements. When Johny loaded his left, that’s when Tim went high with the head kick.

Hendricks was in no position to defend himself, and was soon staring at the bright lights. Once again, Johny let himself down. This time around, he didn’t have Mike Dolce to blame.

We’ve seen time and again how the fighters tend to lose focus once they’re not in the elite group anymore. Two years ago, Hendricks was the challenger for the gold at 170 lbs. Now however, there is a good chance Hendricks might start thinking about going to a different promotion, and rake in some wins.

Discipline the biggest cause for concern for Hendricks

 The curious case of Johny Hendricks -

Johny missed weight in three of his past four fights – starting with his UFC 200 fight with Kelvin Gastelum. Back in January, leading up to the Hector Lombard fight and his middleweight debut, Johny openly talked about contemplating retirement.

“Yes, I said if I lost I would (retire). … (But) if I fight good at ’85, well then I’m gonna stay there”, Johny told Submission Radio. “But if I don’t do good, then guess what? It’s time. I had my fun, I had my time. It’s not worth going out there and training for 12 weeks and then being done, or going out there and just losing.”

“There’s a time to listen to your body and there’s a time not to, and I’ve decided not to listen to it for the last year,” Hendricks further elaborated. “I’ve wanted to move up to ’85 for over a year now. But I still know that I could compete, I know that welterweight was a great division for me, but now it’s not. If I can’t go out to perform, if I’m performing at my worst, and I keep losing, what does that do for me? That’s just a waste of camp and a waste of time and a waste of money.

“Now it’s really time for me to listen to my body and say, ‘Hey, something’s got to give.’ I’ve either got to retire or I’ve got to move up. And why not? I’ve got one fight left on my contract, why not see what happens at 185?” (h/t MMAJunkie)

So the question remains – is Johny Hendricks fully committed to fighting? After a devastating week, where he missed weight at 185, and lost to Tim Boetsch convincingly inside a minute of second round, does Hendricks still believe that he can fight at the top level in the UFC?

Johny cannot blame his poor ethics on deer meat anymore. Instead, as Johny said, it might be time for him to move on.

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