Johny Hendricks: Everybody Is Doubting Me, And I Love That


UFC Welterweight title challenger Johny Hendricks is in for the fight of his life this Saturday when he steps into the Octagon to face off with longtime champion Georges St. Pierre.

Many believe that Hendricks is GSP’s toughest challenge yet thanks to his NCAA championship wrestling pedigree and awe-inspiring knockout power. They may be right, but Hendricks still seems to think he has his doubters, as well. ‘Bigg Rigg’ spoke up to MMA Fighting to detail his feelings about the blockbuster tilt, stating that he doesn’t even have to show all of his skills to win:

“Here’s the thing, is that I don’t have to showcase my whole skillset to win fights. I haven’t had to. Now this fight I might have to. I have jiu-jitsu, I have wrestling, I have power, I have striking. So where is the inexperience or the lack of something? Everybody keeps saying (it) every fight. ‘He’s fighting Kampmann, better striker. ‘He’s fighting Condit, a better striker.’ Where did I win those fights at? Everybody keeps doubting me, and I love that. I absolutely love that.”

It’s highly debatable as to whether or not everyone is doubting him. Actually, it seems like more people are giving him much more of a chance than any of St. Pierre’s previous opponents. His recent knockouts of Martin Kampmann and Jon Fitch have the MMA world on the ropes about who will win this one.

It’ll be on the big stage of the UFC’s twentieth anniversary show at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. It’ll also be in the form of a five round fight, something Hendricks has never participated in before. And that could be his one Achilles’ heel, if he has one. Critics noted that Hendricks seemed to fade against Condit at UFC 158 after putting forth a huge volume of power strikes in the first two rounds. However, ‘Bigg Rigg’ believes he has shored up that part of his game:

“I was pushing myself to the limit everyday that I possibly could. I think, now, I am ready. One thing I’ve learned, if you watch all my fights, I push very, very hard the first two rounds, because I have to win two out of three, right? Well now I’ve got to win three out of five. So that changed up the way I’m looking for stuff. I’ve worked a lot on my boxing, a lot on my kickboxing, to not only just go for the kill, but also to set up the kill. That’s something that I’m looking forward to, to see how that adapts, see if I can translate what I’ve learned these last four months into the Octagon.”

There’s not much doubt that Hendricks will definitely have to pace himself against St. Pierre. He’ll shock the world if he can score the huge knockout early on, but if he doesn’t he ‘ll be at a huge disadvantage heading into the later rounds. St. Pierre is well known for weathering the initial storm of his opponents and then drowning them in deep water.

Hendricks has enough faith in his wrestling to believe that GSP won’t be able to take him down. However, many a talented wrestler thought the same thing. Hendricks is arguably the most decorated amateur wrestler St. Pierre has ever faced in the cage; it’ll be interesting to see if that translates into success at UFC 167.

But Hendricks’ offensive weapons were never in question. The real questions will be how he responds to adversity and how much gas he has in the tank come Saturday. Does ‘Bigg Rigg’ have the stamina to hang with the greatest grinder the UFC has ever seen?

  • If he had a Jiu Jitsu game, he would have demonstrated it against Carlos Condit. If he didn't have it for that fight, he surely hasn't learned it since.

    More to the point, all Bigg Rigg has talked about going into this fight has been his right hand and how he's been working on delivering power with it. Anytime we've seen him on Primetime he's hitting the bag, wrestling or doing strength and conditioning, but never BJJ.

    In terms of him having to change it up, because it's a five round fight, that's not a mind game GSP has to worry about. Further, what it tells us is that Bigg Rigg may be planning on dialing back the pace over the first two. The problem though is that GSP won't be. Further still, Johny is stating flat out that he's going to KO the champ and that he's conceding that the fight will have to go to decision.

    On the point of his boxing, Johny is a power puncher, not a technician. If his plan is to out box or kickboxing the champ, I don't see it happening.

    Bigg Rigg either KOs' Rush or he loses. I think it's going to be that cut and dried.

  • I am not doubting you at all Johnny! Go get that strap!

  • I think that rather than doubting you, people aren't giving GSP enough credit. There is much more to doubt with regards to Hendricks then with GSP

  • I wouldn't brag about that Condit fight if i were you Johnny.

  • Don't worry Johny, your mom doesn't doubt you.

    Seriously, Hendricks is a real threat but to argue that, one punch knockout aside, he is still a threat – I don't think so. In a jiu jitsu exhibition match I'd bet on GSP…buuut with that big overhand / him in there he has a decent chance.

    Scary night for GSP but I see him winning.

    • Agreed, If he didnt take Nick Diaz down and punched it out, GSP would lose for sure. He will nullify Hendricks. But if GSP gets too confident in the "big surprise" that might be boxing? It might get messy.

  • "[I want to] … see if I can translate what I've learned these last four months into the Octagon." – GSP is the wrong guy to experiment with. I had hope for him, but realistically I see Johny losing this fight.

  • Good thing you're not fighting DC, he's be protesting that airbag beard.
    You got your work cut out for the ground controlling GSP.