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Mike Dolce on Johny Hendricks: 'Talent and a hard punch is only gonna get you so far'

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

In Mike Dolce's eyes, Johny Hendricks should still be the UFC welterweight champion. Dolce thought his client beat Robbie Lawler in the main event of UFC 181 "no problem."

However, the award-winning MMA diet and nutrition guru thought it would have been far easier if Hendricks had not allowed himself to get out of shape in between fights, forcing a very steep weight cut.

"Johny Hendricks has such problems with his weigh-ins, because he balloons up in the offseason," Dolce told Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "He carries too much body fat. It's extremely unhealthy to dehydrate the muscles, where you can't dehydrate the body fat. So it comes out of all the vital areas of the body and that causes all these poor performances."

Dolce praised Lawler for living the life of a professional athlete year-round. He wants to see the same level of commitment for Hendricks.

"You don't deserve to beat these guys if you're not living the same lifestyle," Dolce said. "Talent and a hard punch is only gonna get you so far. You gotta earn the victory long before the fight."

Hendricks (16-3) meets Matt Brown in what could be a title eliminator at UFC 185 on March 14 in Dallas. Dolce said the former champ is under 200 pounds --somewhere in the 190 range -- already, while typically he can get up to more than 210 pounds. That's the good part about a quick turnaround before fights. But there are cons to go along with that pro.

"That short turnaround is hard when he went through a weight cut like he did, when he went through the type of fight that he had," Dolce said. "That was a hard fight. Robbie landed some serious shots, not just to his head, but his body, too."

But it isn't like Dolce doesn't think Hendricks can and will beat Brown.

"Johny is a champion, man," Dolce said. "You can't count a kid like Johny Hendricks out. Look at his body of work. Look at what he's done. Look at his [Georges St-Pierre] fight. I think he manhandled GSP. How do you count out a kid like Johny Hendricks, who is a born winner?"

So far, so good in this training camp, Dolce said. But the trainer wants Hendricks to stick with this year-round work ethic.

"I would love to see Johny really dial it in," Dolce said. "It seems like he's doing that right now. But we won't know until fight week comes. That's the unfortunate thing with Johny."