Photo by Esther Lin via MMA Fighting
MMAmania's Brian Hemminger speaks with UFC welterweight top contender Johny Hendricks about the fallout of his UFC 154 win over Martin Kampmann, his positive fight mindset and whether Georges St. Pierre could survive his left hand in part two of this exclusive interview
When Johny Hendricks hits his opponents solidly with his left hand, they don't stand a chance.
Blessed with one of the most powerful punches in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), "Big Rig" has finished three fights inside the first minute since joining the promotion in 2009, beginning with his 29 second thrashing of Amir Sadollah at UFC 101 and culminating in his one-punch destruction of Martin Kampmann this past Saturday night (Nov. 17, 2012) in the co-main event of UFC 154 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
After Saturday night's victory, Hendricks' post fight celebration involved putting an imaginary belt around his waist, sending a message to Georges St. Pierre that he was coming for the title. If it wasn't obvious enough, he made his intentions known in his post fight interview with Joe Rogan, pleading for a title shot.
Who knows? With the way St. Pierre was rocked with that head kick from Carlos Condit, Hendricks might just have what it takes to dethrone the champion.
In part one of our interview, Hendricks talked about a potential title shot. Here in part two, "Big Rig" discusses his post-fight plans, his unshakable optimism and his strong belief in his ability to end a fight with just one solid shot.
Check it out:
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Now after your knockout win, did you go crazy backstage or did you settle down and actually watch the main event between Georges St. Pierre and Carlos Condit?
Johny Hendricks: I watched it. I was hoping I was gonna get to face one of those guys. I wanted to watch it live to see if I could see stuff happening, see what they were doing. See this, see that, so whenever I go back and actually start re-watching the fight on replay, I can be like, "Oh man, I remember when he did this, how did he set that up? Rewind it." I want to see if I can pick up things they can do.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Now are you going to go GSP-style and take a vacation? I heard you're really looking forward to going back home.
Johny Hendricks: Oh yes, I'm gonna go back home for a week, I'm gonna come back and then go on a couple hunting trips. I'm pretty much on stand-by in my mind. I want to wait, want to see what happens and pretty much be a family guy now. I can't wait to see my girls, spend some time with them. We'll go camping for a week and that's all that matters in my life, seeing those girls and putting in the time with them.
Ben Thapa: Do you wish the fight had gone longer so you could showcase your skills in other areas, or are you happy with the way everything turned out?
Johny Hendricks: You're always happy with a finish. A finish is always nice. I trained three months for that fight. I trained hours on hours on hours to prepare myself for a hard 15 minute fight and sometimes it is. It's rewarding in this aspect because I knew I needed to go out there and do something big to make my claim that I deserve a title shot but sometimes it's not. Sometimes, you're like, "Man, I'd have much rather had it go 15 minutes," just because I don't have a lot cage time. It's a lot of fun for me to be in the Octagon. Whenever I'm in there, I get to be a different person. In that time, I enjoy every second of it and sometimes it just ends too soon.
Ben Thapa: Where do you think you stand, skill-wise, at the top of the welterweight division? Compared to the other top contenders, do you think you're there?
Johny Hendricks: Yeah, I think I'm there. The only thing I have to do is I have to use my wrestling more. Like against Josh Koscheck, when you hit him, if you don't put him on his back, you can't rush into him because he can lay you out with one punch. With that being said, I knew that if I hit him, I'd have to put him on his back and that never happened. If that doesn't happen, I need to be able to adapt on the go and take him down and start utilizing other aspects so that way it'll maybe open up my hands again. That's something I learned from that fight and I plan on using it.
Ben Thapa: Was there ever a point where you weren't sure you'd succeed in your career?
Johny Hendricks: No. Whenever I put my mind to something, I don't let anything hinder me. I don't let anything, critics, people surrounding me, I don't let anything stand in my way because I know what I want to do and I know what I have to do and need to reach it. Right now, I've got a wife that understands that and she lets me free. I get to go train as hard as I want to and do these things so it's really very important that I have the backing that I have so I can have that free reign. If I didn't have my wife backing me like I do, I probably wouldn't be where I'm at.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Okay, I'll close with this. You saw Carlos Condit land that head kick and hurt St. Pierre. Do you think that if you land your left hand on GSP, that you can hurt him just as bad if not worse than that?
Johny Hendricks: Yeah. That's the beauty, for some reason my left hand, if it hits and I've got that killer instinct, and that's what I've to got get. That's one thing I'm finding out is how to get that before the fight starts. Now, I know even more. All I have to do is let it connect once. It doesn't matter how the fight's going. I get to stay calm the whole time. I can be that much more calm and that much more comfortable knowing that I'm always one punch away from it being the end of the fight.
Johny would like to thank Bass Pro, Ecko and the rest of his sponsors. He'd also like to thank God, his family, his friends and his wife for enduring another hard camp. You can follow him on Twitter @JohnyHendricks.
So what do you think, Maniacs?
Should the Ultimate Fighting Championship quit trying to force the Georges St. Pierre vs Anderson Silva superfight in lieu of Hendricks getting a welterweight title shot? Do you think he can put GSP to sleep if he connects with that left hand?
To listen to our complete conversation with Johny Hendricks, click here (interview begins at the 31:00 mark).