High-level wrestlers tend to get a bad rap in MMA based on their ability to take opponents down and control them from above for fifteen minutes en route to a decision win. However, UFC welterweight Johny Hendricks has broken the mold, only opting to put his adversaries on the mat as a secondary measure if his sleep-inducing strikes don’t land.
Interestingly enough, Hendricks actually credits his background in grappling as being key in his development as a power-punching contender.
“In wrestling you have to react in seconds, in a blink of an eye. That’s the same in fighting: Your hips have got to be able to react on their own,” said Hendricks in a recent interview with Fightland. “I think that’s one reason I can hit so hard. I just let my body take over. I let my eyes see what needs to be seen and I let my body react the way it needs to react.”
“You don’t have to hit someone that hard to knock someone out,” he continued. “The way that I hit people, I don’t hit them that hard. I hit them 80 percent, just like training. What I do is I really focus on the accuracy part. If you move your head, I still want to be able to hit you. If you lean back, I still want to be able to touch you. I think that’s the most important part. No matter what happens, whenever I throw a punch, I at least want to get close enough that they have to respect it.”
The 15-1 Hendricks, who is currently on a six-fight winning streak, is up next for champion Georges St-Pierre. No date has been announced for their future meeting though it is expected to take place in August or September.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC