Johny Hendricks is considered by many MMA fans and media members to be the rightful UFC welterweight champion after giving now-former champ Georges St Pierre the toughest fight of his esteemed career and losing via controversial split decision at UFC 167.
Now, with GSP having recently vacated the title, Johny has been given a shot at redemption as he is set to face fellow top 170lb contender Robbie Lawler at UFC 171 to determine who will be crowned king of the division.
Speaking exclusively to Fighters Only, Hendricks told us he didn’t care his next fight for the title wouldn't be a rematch with St-Pierre – the only thing he’s after is the belt.
“I don’t care about Georges, I care about the belt,” he laughs. “I beat Georges. I beat him once. The world knows that so I just want that belt now. I want that 20lb of gold that says UFC welterweight champion. That’s what I want. And that’s been my goal the whole time, is I don’t care who it is, or when it is, I just want to bring that home.” Lucky for him, he won’t have to haul the title far to get it back to the Hendricks homestead, should he be the victor. The five-rounder will be going down in Dallas, Texas, the city in which he and his family, a wife and three daughters, reside.
When we asked how he believed a rematch with GSP would go, the wrestler told us he would try to finish it, and in the midst of his fighting talk dropped a line that’s equally as pertinent for his future foe. “I’m always going to try to finish every fight that I can,” he told us, “and that’s all I’m looking for.”
Several times in conversation with FO, Bigg Rigg has declared he won’t lose out on becoming the UFC welterweight champion a second time. And each proclamation sounds more as though Hendricks feels he’s prophesising, and not just speculating. He is convinced. What tells him, guarantees to him, that a second chance will not slip through his fingers as well?
“The way I’m going to train,” Hendricks states flatly. “My whole attitude. Everything that I can control, I’ll do differently. Meaning that I’m going to wrap my hands where I’ll have the pad where I can throw as hard as I want.
“And I’m going to correct those things, so whenever I do hit, with full power, it’s not going to be something that,” Hendricks pauses as he collects his thoughts. “Georges St Pierre forgot on 70% power. Wait until I punch at 100%.”
For the full exclusive interview, get the latest issue of Fighters Only magazine – on sale now across the UK, US, Canada & Europe.