Former UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks faces Tyron Woodley at UFC 192 tomorrow (Saturday October 3, 2015), with another crack at the 170-pound belt up for grabs. After losing a razor tight decision against Georges St-Pierre at UFC 167, ‘Bigg Rigg’ went on to win an equally tight fight against Robbie Lawler for the vacated strap.
Losing to ‘Ruthless’ in his first defense, Hendricks went on to beat Matt Brown to align himself with ‘The Chosen One’ in Houston, Texas, and the winner of Lawler vs Carlos Condit at UFC 195 waits in the wings. Talking with MMAJunkie.com, the former welterweight boss discusses Woodley, Condit, Lawler and more:
“The way Tyron is, he’s two different fighters,” Hendricks said. “He’s either a very aggressive fighter, or he’s a very defensive fighter. We had to train for two different fighters because we don’t know which one is going to show up. We have a feeling which one is going to show up – the one that’s very aggressive. So that’s the one we trained for first.
“… I’m sort of grateful for this fight because it’s really changed my striking. Some of the things I’m going to be doing in the octagon will be different than in the past.”
Hendricks’ physique certainly looked his best to date in recent photos, and he’s also appeared to have a slight shift in character. Vowing to never beg for a title shot again was refreshing to hear from ‘Bigg Rigg’, but he inevitably starts calling for one again in this interview:
“I’m going to call for what I want, but I’m not going to trash talk,” he said. “I’m going to sit here and say, ‘Why does Condit get a title shot? (Woodley and I) both beat him. Instead, we’re not – both – getting a title shot.’ We both beat him, and he beat a top-12 guy – (Thiago Alves) was 12th. I’ve been fighting top-five guys for the last three years.”
“If I get a knockout and I don’t get the damn title shot, I’ll be pissed,”
A knockout against Woodley would certainly be an impressive result for Hendricks, but obviously nothing is guaranteed in the race for the UFC title fight. Perhaps if Condit and ‘Ruthless’ put on a great show they’ll be matched in yet another championship rematch.
Outside of that, there doesn’t seem to be many reasons that the winner of Hendricks vs. Woodley wouldn’t be granted the next crack at the belt, than again, we’ve said that about many hopeful contenders in the past.