UFC 171's Johny Hendricks doesn't see himself as 'elite' fighter

Sarah Glenn

Why so modest "Bigg Rigg?"

Johny Hendricks has been competing in mixed martial arts (MMA) as professional for six years now. During four of those years, "Bigg Rigg" has fought and defeated some of the best inside the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Octagon including Carlos Condit, Josh Koscheck and Jon Fitch.

Heck, he even came close to dethroning longtime Welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre in his first-ever title fight at UFC 167 on Nov. 16, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

A fight that many believe Hendricks won, UFC President Dana White included.

Nevertheless, despite enjoying great success and possessing some of the heaviest hands in all of MMA which have laid out the best of them, Hendricks doesn't see himself as one of the elite. For Johny complimenting himself was never his style as he recently told Bleacher Report.

His words:

"I see myself as a power puncher, but for some reason I can never tell myself that I'm one of the elite. Does that make sense? I'll downplay myself before I compliment myself. 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. 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."

Going 10-2 and inside the Octagon and giving "Rush" -- one of the best fighters of all time -- all he can handle is something most fighters will never be able to lay claim to; so if "Bigg Rigg" one day felt the need to puff out his chest, even if just a little bit, while placing himself amongst the elite, no one would fault him for it.

In the meantime, Hendricks will continue to be as humble as can be as he prepares for another tough test as he challenges hard-hitting Robbie Lawler in the main event of UFC 171 on Mar. 15, 2014 in Dallas, Texas.

But if he manages to win the title, then maybe he'll finally have to consider himself at the level of Cain Velasquez, Jon Jones and the aforementioned St-Pierre.

If he isn't there already.

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