Former UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks appeared recently on Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour, and discussed his recent move up to middleweight, a victory over Hector Lombard in February. This followed an 0-3 run at 170, missing weight twice. The fight prior to that was scrapped when Hendricks was hospitalized while cutting weight.
Now the fighter says he is done at welterweight.
“The reason why I thought about retirement was because I didn’t know if the UFC would accept me moving to 185. You put such a legacy at 170 that not just the UFC but the fans, are they going to accept that? Are they going to open their arms and all this kind of stuff. That’s why I wanted to retire, because fighting was not fun. It was 12 weeks of hell and you’re like ‘why am I doing this?’”
“That was probably the easiest weight cut I’ve ever done,” said Hendricks of the last one. “I ate all the way up until Friday, I drank all the way up until Friday, and the only reason I didn’t drink Friday is I didn’t want to work it off. … I was sitting there and I was looking at my coach and I was like ‘Man I gotta be doing something.’ Usually, I’m having to run, I’m having a lot of work to try to touch down. I’m so used to my body not wanting to give it up where, we’d do the bare minimum and get what we want, so that way I could do more and capitalize on it throughout the week.”
“I was a little bit nervous because you gotta think my last fight’s have been first round good, second round okay, third I’m trying to survive. People don’t see that but in my mind and my body that’s what I’m trying to do.”
“First round, I pushed myself. Second round thinking, ‘Hey we gotta be easy, still move my feet, still do that but don’t kill yourself.’ Third round I was like ‘Wow, my energy level never depleted.’ If there was a fourth or fifth round I think I would have been able to get stronger. I needed to move forward, I needed something like that. It made me, it brought back the love I had for the sport, not having to hurt myself, not having to do all these things, and having the energy to do what you want to go out there and do.”
“As long as my body is healed, I can go out there and fight every two months if I want to. Cutting weight, right now I’m at 205, a little bit lighter than that, now that I don’t have to slam my body, I’m actually not eating as much, I’m eating better, I’m not super clean but I’m not going off the deep end like I used to for the ’70 class.”