Anyone who follows the UFC undoubtedly remembers where they were when rising welterweight start Johny Hendricks knocked Jon Fitch out. If not just for the actual fight, but for the true show of emotion Hendricks had afterwards. The Oklahoma State product has never been one to to hold in his emotions and has had some real entertaining post-fight actions as a result. The bottom line is, Hendricks immediately realized what he had just accomplished and was ready to enjoy it.
The 12-1 Hendricks, recently announced to a bout with Josh Koscheck at UFC on FOX 3, sat down and spoke with Five Ounces of Pain where he talked about the win over Fitch and his thoughts on a title-run, as well as the support group he has in a great team and loving family who help make him the fighter he is.
“The day before I told (matchmaker) Joe Silva I wanted knockout of the night,” Hendricks admitted on the subject of his UFC 141 win. “I wanted to make Jon Fitch forget his name for one night. The week before everyone was saying I didn’t deserve the fight with Fitch. I was being overlooked by everyone so I used it as motivation. I went in there I’m going to hit him as hard as I could and try and knock him out. Silva smirked at me because no one had finished him.
“As soon as I hit him he fell and then the ref jumped in. The first thing I thought was, ‘This is awesome!’ Then I saw Joe Silva walk in and I asked him, ‘Was that good enough for Knockout of the Night,’” Hendricks reflected. “It’s not something that’s going to happen every time. It was a combination of the anger I had built up and all of the hard work I put in. This was the hardest camp I have ever been through.”
Everyone that Hendricks surrounds himself with he counts as his biggest supporters. He is not one to take anybody or anything for granted. Whether it’s family, a friend or training partner, Hendricks realizes the importance of surrounding himself with good people.
“My wife is my biggest supporter without a doubt,” said the 28-year old. “Then there is my dad, my mom, Team Takedown, all of my managers, everyone who is around me are huge supporters. I like being an open book so if I have something bothering me I like to talk about it. It’s nice to have all of these great people who keep me happy and are willing to listen to me. Keep good people around you and good things will happen.”
Now that Carlos Condit is the interim champion and Nick Diaz is out for the foreseeable future a huge opportunity may just open up for the right fighter. Although the UFC has talked about having Condit face Georges St. Pierre to unify the titles once he returns from injury, the date of such a thing happening is still a long way off. Hendricks has his opinion on how things should go down.
“I have heard a couple of times that Condit may defend the title once before GSP comes back, I don’t know if it’s true or not,” Hendricks explained. “It might just be a rumor, but I’m hoping that it’s not and of course I’d love to be the one to get a shot at it. I want a shot at that belt. I’m 7-1 in the UFC with four KO’s and 9-1 with Zuffa; I’m ready to make that run.
“For four years Fitch was the number two ranked welterweight in the world and I knocked him out,” Hendricks went on, his voice becoming more and more filled with excitement. “The bigger the fight the better I come out. That is the way I was when I wrestled and that’s they way I am in the UFC. The more pressure that’s on me to lose the better I perform. I like to meet my challenges head on. I’m at a point where others believe in me and it makes me feel good. To have Mr. Fertitta and Dana White appreciate me is great, but I know I need to keep performing.”
With Koscheck on the horizon he will certainly get the chance to do just that.
As he has stated Hendricks likes his life to be an open book for the entire world to see. Never one to hold anything back, he does have one secret that up until only he and his daughter knew about. I am honored that he felt comfortable enough to share this with me.
“I will tell you something that no one knows except for my daughter and that is I am a horse half the time,” Hendricks said while laughing. “My daughter will jump on my back and I let her ride me like a horse. I buck around like a Bronco and she’s screams go daddy go! Whenever I have to leave she has as sad look on her face and I have a little saying and it goes, Daddy’s gotta go make some money and she says Daddy go make me some money. That’s my motivation.”
You can visit the Team Takedown site at www.TeamTakedown.com
Author’s Note: Special thanks to Johny’s manager Janet Jenkins for setting this interview up. It was a real pleasure spending time talking to Johny. One of the more memorable conversations I have had with a fighter.