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Johny Hendricks: I Don’t Think I’m an Elite Fighter

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In his six or so years of competition, Johny Hendricks has climbed the ranks to become one of the world’s best (if not the best) at welterweight.

Still even after a 15-2 record, three Knockout of the Nights, two Fight of the Nights, and a title shot that arguably retired GSP, “Bigg Rigg” is remaining humble.

“I see myself as a power puncher, but for some reason I can never tell myself that I’m one of the elite,” he told Bleacher Report. “Does that make sense? I’ll downplay myself before I compliment myself.”

Hendricks also discussed his upcoming opponent, Robbie Lawler, who he’ll face off against for the vacant welterweight title next year:

“I know [Lawler] is very talented. I know he has some power in his hands, and that’s what makes this fight exciting. Who is going to touch who and who is going to counter the other’s power?

“That’s what we have figure out. I’m happy to have coaches I have on my side, and they are already figuring out great ways we can win this fight. And we’ll move forward from there.”

Despite the success he’s had over his career, Hendricks wants to enter the octagon against Lawler fresh and hungry:

“I’m hungry for every fight I go into. Every fight I go in thinking I’m 0-0 and I’m fighting for my livelihood. We are very blessed to be in the organization like the UFC. I want to make sure I do everything I can and lay it all on the line in each fight-not only to make the fans happy-but to make sure the Fertitta brothers and Mr. White are happy with me.

“That’s my goal. If I can keep everybody happy, I’m doing my job. Not only is my job to put on a good show, but to win fights in the process. That’s what I strive for. I can’t wait for this fight. I’m super-excited. I just start laughing and smiling when I think about fighting in Texas. And it’s even better because it will be for a belt. I’m super-appreciative and very excited to have this opportunity.”

Hendricks and Lawler will face off in the main event of UFC 171 on March 15, 2014 in Dallas.