When it comes to analyzing an opponent a fighter scouts a variety of techniques and tendencies in hopes of gaining a better understanding of what’s to come when the cage door closes. However, as Johny Hendricks recently revealed, the focus isn’t always on a certain style of striking, submission-savvy on the ground, or even cardio-level.
During the opening round of his co-headlining clash last weekend with Josh Koscheck at UFC on FOX 3 the 28-year old Hendricks got an unwelcome close up of his foe’s finger, though not necessarily an unexpected one.
“He landed a lot because he poked my eye and I was seeing double for the first three minutes. I didn’t see clearly again until the second round. So the first round I was trying to circle away and close one eye every so often so I could get a good fix on him and try to throw,” said Hendricks in an interview with Fuel TV after the show’s conclusion. “He does it every fight. That’s just him. We knew about it. That’s why I was trying to throw and move my head out of the way. I was moving my head more this fight when I was trying to throw punches because I didn’t want to get poked in the eye because he’s always sticking that hand out there. It ended up catching me and it hurt me.”
In fact, the 13-1 Oklahoman even asked the in-ring official about the possibility before the bout had even begun, approaching him backstage to gauge what sort of action would be taken.
“I said, ‘If he pokes me in the eye, what are you doing to do?’ He said, ‘I can’t stop it, you don’t get a five-minute break, and you can’t say you can’t see, or the fight is going to be over,’” stated Hendricks, showing why he pressed through the first frame’s adversity rather than risk having the ringside doctor end things.
Clearly Hendricks’ decision was the right one as he dished out as much as he took throughout the remainder of the rumble and even a little more according to the judging panel who handed him the Split Decision win once things were said and done.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC