In 2014, Johny Hendricks was on top of the world as the UFC welterweight champion. Now, just a few years later, Hendricks has lost six of his last eight fights, including a failed move to middleweight that has seen him knocked out in his last two fights. But though to many it would appear that Hendricks is nearing the end of his career, “Big Rigg” disagrees.
In a recent interview with MMAJunkie Radio, Hendricks, who is currently a free agent, says that he still has a lot of fight left in him but that he wants to return back to the weight class in which he won the title, and the UFC wants the same.
“I’m a free agent,” said Hendricks. “I am up for grabs. The UFC stills wants me. They want me back at 170 [pounds] and I agree. If you’re gonna keep giving me these big ol’ 85 pounders, I’ve got to get back down to 170.”
Hendricks rose to prominence as a welterweight, losing a controversial split decision to 170-pound GOAT Georges St-Pierre in GSP’s last welterweight fight to date. He then won the title in his next bout with a unanimous decision win over Robbie Lawler before dropping it in their rematch in another controversial decision. Since then though, Hendricks has had trouble both inside the cage and on the scale. He missed weight in back-to-back fights against Kelvin Gastelum and Neil Magny, precipitating his move up to 185 pounds, where he then went on to miss weight against Tim Boetsch. But despite his recent struggles with the scale, Hendricks is confident a return to 170 pounds is manageable.
“I’ve got to fight back to what I want to get to,” said Hendricks. “I’m not that type of guy that says, ‘No, I think I deserve more.’ I will get back to where I want to be at the welterweight division. I really do believe that. I’m starting to get faster. I’m working with a trainer here, Ryan. He’s been working on my fast-twitch movement, he’s been working on my speed - quickness, explosion - and whenever I’m doing these things and then I go back and train boxing or whatever, everyone can see that I’m getting quicker and my weight is coming down.”
Hendricks decision to return to 170 pounds comes as a bit of a surprise, considering the toll the weight cut takes on his body. Always a large 170-pound fighter, Hendricks openly discussed considering retirement after the weight-cut for his title defense against Robbie Lawler at UFC 181 and just last year claimed that he never wanted to fight at welterweight “ever again.” And while it would appear his desire to continue competing and his struggles with the size disadvantage he faces at middleweight would be the cause of his change in tune, Hendricks says that he actually never really wanted to go up to 185 pounds in the first place but that his experience there gave him renewed confidence in making another run in the 170-pound division.
“Right after my last fight I emailed them saying, ‘Hey, I want to go back to 170. Obviously, y’all don’t want me at 185. I understand,’” said Hendricks. “And realistically, the only reason I went up to 185 was because I thought I had one more fight on my contract. So I go, screw 170, I’m gonna go to 85 and then we can renegotiate a contract. . .
“Needless to say, I got two big ol’ boys and it didn’t go the way I wanted it to. But after fighting those fights, it really brought back something in me because I was like, ‘Dude, they don’t kick that hard.’ I still hurt all those 85-pounders with my punches and with my kicks. So if I can hurt 85-pounders, what can I do if I go back to 170. It sort of built my confidence back up to where I believe in my power, I believe in what I can do.”
Talk is cheap, Nate isn’t. UFC, Nate Diaz in serious talks for August return.
Owning up. Chad Mendes takes responsibility for his USADA suspension: ‘I messed up’.
Rise. Derrick Lewis: Facing ‘old guys’ with no chins responsible for Francis Ngannou’s rise.
750. Bellator averages 750,000 viewers over two platforms for Fedor vs. Mir.
The MMA After Hour.
KO of the Week.
TJ on sparring Lomachenko.
Hardy on Gus.
A good look into Pearl Gonzalez.
Bobby Knux and his recovery.
BTS of a pro MMA debut from our friends over at MMA Mania.
The MMA Circus. Discussing the return of Fedor Emelianenko.
Obviously Fight Talk. Recapping Bellator 198 and comparing past UFC champions.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Magny ready to fight Masvidal.
A ranked opponent, hell yea I'll fight him.— Neil Magny (@NeilMagny) May 1, 2018
And some related trash talking.
Update: Neil Magny doesn’t wanna fight! A lot of 155 doesn’t want idem ♂️— GILBERT BURNS DURINHO (@GilbertDurinho) May 2, 2018
I’m back in camp and looking forward to be fighting at 155 July 6, 7 or 14! But you know I’m a if @ufc need 170 short notice replacement I will be ready! @AliAbdelaziz00 @danawhite @seanshelby
Everyone knows I can fight 5-10-20 rounds easy... but I will take out the winner of pitbull & weichel in ONE.— Emmanuel Sanchez (@ElMatador145) May 1, 2018
Just signed my first ufc bout agreement. See you in Singapore! pic.twitter.com/G50sRZOuN3— Petr “No Mercy” Yan (@PetrYanUFC) May 1, 2018
Dillon Danis out here being off-brand Conor.
and they said inverting in mma doesn’t work... pic.twitter.com/2lNHq451W3— Dillon Danis (@dillondanis) May 2, 2018
Would love to see chandler invert this fucking putts https://t.co/8PBipKDwFg— Al Iaquinta (@ALIAQUINTA) May 2, 2018
haters gon hate ♂️ https://t.co/r8DBKtb5SA— Dillon Danis (@dillondanis) May 2, 2018
easy sub https://t.co/RPWXXLcSNQ— Dillon Danis (@dillondanis) May 2, 2018
Are you ready world? pic.twitter.com/WSWcsafn9R— Kayla Harrison (@Judo_Kayla) May 1, 2018
The UFC continuing to run out generic fight posters instead of just hiring BossLogic remains impossibly stupid.
Did a little fun karate kid homage for #fightnight 130 @WonderboyMMA VS @darrentill2 can't wait for this event to go down on the 27th of may #ufcliverpool pic.twitter.com/VyAvg1ZYHg— BossLogic (@Bosslogic) May 1, 2018
Your daily dose of sad.
U know what @DonFryeFighter we're both a bit beat up. So it's even. I know how bad u want to fight we're not in our prime,I respect u but fk let's fight! I miss it u miss it.Old school no rules.I can take u down and I am the GODFATHER OF GNP. Head but the shit out of you! U there https://t.co/a0VJKcj2ds— Mark Coleman (@HammerHouseMMA) May 1, 2018
Salt in the wound, Stipe.
.@Drake when the Cavs stomp the Raptors you’ll have a lot more time to play me in Fortnite— Stipe Miocic (@stipemiocic) May 2, 2018
Hey, if it’s on the table, take advantage.
I pride myself on not needing special treatment but I forgot to check in early for my southwest flight so I got last choice of self seating. The lady looked at my arm & asked if I needed to pre-board.... What do you think I said? pic.twitter.com/3l7Bt804lY— Nick Newell (@NotoriousNewell) May 1, 2018
Brandon Moreno (14-4) vs. Alexandre Pantoja (18-3); UFC Chile, May 19.
Charlie Ward (4-3) vs. Louis King (1-1); Bellator 200, May 25.
David Teymur (7-1) vs. Nik Lentz (28-8-2, 1 NC); UFC Utica, June 1.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2014: Joe Warren won a unanimous decision over Rafael Silva at Bellator 118 to claim the interim bantamweight title.
Take it easy everyone and see y’all tomorrow.
Should Johnny Hendricks drop back down to 170?
This poll is closed
He should retire.
If you find something you'd like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @JedKMeshew on Twitter and let him know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram, add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting, and like us on Facebook.