Former UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks has explained how USADA played a role in his early retirement from MMA.

Hendricks captured the welterweight title by beating Robbie Lawler at UFC 171. At his peak ‘Big Rig’ was one of the best 170lb fighters of all-time. However, once USADA came into the UFC his performances seriously dropped off. Hendricks ended his MMA career 2-5 and missed weight three times. Speaking to BJPenn.com Hendricks insisted he was a clean athlete but said USADA rules meant he was unable to properly recover from his weight cuts and triggered his early retirement from the sport.

“You know what, I’ll be honest with you, I had 26 random USADA tests and I passed them all. Whenever USADA came in, did my body ever change? What hurt me the most was I always thought if I can’t live life to the fullest then what’s the point? I like to drink beer and eat fast food,” Hendricks said. “But, I train just as hard, and if I can’t eat and drink I’ll retire. If I couldn’t enjoy my life and do things with my family, then I won’t do it.

“What sucked, was you have fighters that actually cheat,” he continued. “That’s what kills me about the world in general, you know they are cheating, why are they letting them still fight? It hurts the people who aren’t cheating.”

“With IVs, I did really well because I could have the shittiest weight cut ever, pop in an IV, and the next day I was like 80, 90 percent recovered,” he said. “It made me perform the best that I can. Look at how things are now, a lot more people are getting knocked out.

“Although you have 30 hours to re-hydrate, I don’t care if you put down 10 gallons of water, your body can’t absorb it,” Hendricks added. “What hurt me, was after a bad weight cut and no IVs, I couldn’t get back to that 80 or 90 percent. You would need a perfect weight cut and a perfect re-hydration for that to happen.

“For me, I would be on my death bed, give me an IV and I’ll be good. When IVs were removed I remember being in a fight after a minute and thinking where I am,” he continued. “That’s what hurt me is that my muscles, to cut weight, it was tough. I’m not saying I should’ve been that heavy, but that’s why I’m retired. I liked to eat and drink and used the IVs to recover.”

Do you think Johny Hendrick was a clean athlete?