It should come as no surprise that Johny Hendricks wants another crack at Georges St-Pierre.
And now that they are both competing at middleweight, it just might happen.
The former UFC welterweight champion discussed GSP, his upcoming bout with Tim Boetsch and more during an appearance on “Submission Radio” recently:
Given that his MMA pro debut was there, if there are any superstitions about fighting in Oklahoma again against Tim Boetsch
No, no, no, I’m super excited. I’ve had a lot of success in that building. I won a national title there. I have done very well in Oklahoma. So for me, I’m just sort of excited to be able to fight back in Oklahoma.”
On people doubting him when he first had title aspirations at 170
“It’s sort of the same way now, its 185. So I’m thinking of it as a new beginning. I gotta go out there, prove myself every fight and I want to be a UFC champ again. That’s really where my head is. As of right now that’s where my head is at, is how do I become a UFC champ again.”
On what Hendricks proved to himself by winning his first fight in middleweight and first fight in almost two years
“You know, it wasn’t even about the win, it was about am I happy? You know what I mean? That was the first time in two years, almost two years I’ve been happy to fight, that I wasn’t just hating life. I talked about retirement and I’d say 98 percent of it was the fact that you do a three-month camp and 12 of the three months you’re just focusing on cutting weight, not even really doing much of anything else but wearing plastics every day, running every day, doing this, doing that. And so now at 185 I don’t have to worry about those things. All I get to worry about is training, getting stronger, lifting weights and having fun again. I have a life again. For example, last year I fought three times. So out of 12 months, nine of them I was cutting weight. Like, I was literally trying to do everything I could to hit 170. And now at 185, the last fight I just had to suffer the week of. And I can’t even consider that suffering because the whole time I was thinking, I should be doing more. Like, I should be hurting more, I should be running more, I should be doing this more to make weight, right? Because over the last two years it’s been that way – or actually longer, for the last four years it’s been, you know, the day of the fight or the day of the weigh-ins you’re busting your butt to get an extra three pounds off of you. Whereas this last fight, I woke up at 185.5 and I just decided to drink a half a pound just so I can weigh-in at 186 – and I end up weighing in at 185.5 anyways. So it’s just one of those things that now I gotta switch my mindset to. Now it’s not about how hard you gotta cut weight, it’s how much can I improve my skills again.
On fighting Tim Boetsch and dealing with his strength
“Was I stronger than Hector (Lombard)? Yes. And now I’m fighting Tim. Am I going to be stronger than him? Because he came down from 205, so I’m sort of excited about that. I can’t wait to see, if I go out there and he tries to bully me and I show him, hey, don’t underestimate me, I’m stronger than I look and he realizes that, what message is that gonna send to the rest of the 185 division, right? Because you gotta think that everybody he fights, he’s able to, you know, he’s a strong guy. So that’s really where I want to defeat him at, is the strength aspect. Because one thing that I have that a lot people don’t, is that at 170 they’re very fast punchers. They’re very fast. And at middleweight they’re not as fast, it doesn’t seem like. I haven’t been in there with a lot of them, but the ones that I’m training with, the ones that I’m doing this and that with, I feel like the bigger they are, they’re a little bit slower. And it’s true in any sport. The more weight they put on, the slower they throw. So if I can keep that aspect, the speed aspect on my side, I think that’s gonna really separate me in the 185 division.”
With a win in middleweight and feeling rejuvenated, if Hendricks can put the retirement rumours to rest
“Yes. Yes. I mean, everybody sort of wanted me to move up I think, because I know the news people did because I wasn’t doing good interviews anymore. You know, I was just hating life at 170. And that’s really what it boils down to, is 170 life sucked. I’ll be the first one to admit that. But now at 185, like I said, at 185 I’m starting to wake up and enjoy (life), I’m able to have fun, I’m able to do stuff. For example, right before that last fight I was able to go bow fishing. Prior to that it’s been three years before I could do something like that. And just, my whole life revolved around waking up, run, this workout, eat. You know what I mean? You’re eating very clean, you’re doing this, this and this and you want to spend time with your kids, your family and it’s hard to when you’re on that kind of regiment day in and day out. Like I said, in one year I had three fights. So that’s nine months out of 12 that you’re trying to do everything you can to get down to 170.”
What training camp for Tim Boetsch looks like and if Hendricks is still running it himself or joined a big-time gym
“No, I’m still running it myself. That’s the beauty of this, is that now at 185 I have more awareness of what’s going on. Like for example, I’ll give you an example for a 170 fight. Alright, I wake up, I go run on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I wake up and I do my runs and every night I do a little run and hot tub session almost every night. And then on Mondays I would do a striking class and then at night I would do a Jiu Jitsu or something, but I had to choose which one I did hard. Because I couldn’t push myself hard for both of them because I was cutting for it. Whereas now I’m sitting here going, alright, we’re doing Jiu Jitsu, we’re doing a striking class and I’m lifting weights all in one day. I have more energy. So now I’m able to add more workouts throughout the week because I know that I’m gonna recover in between each one. And if my weight starts getting a little too heavy, I just start taking in some cleaner foods and then all of a sudden you lose like six, seven pounds. You just maintain that, right? So within two weeks from now I’ll probably be 200 pounds. And I’m gonna try and maintain that for the last six weeks, 200 pounds, and I’m gonna be training two to three times a day. So I’m gonna workout three days a week. I’m gonna do striking three days a week. I’m gonna do kickboxing twice a week. I’ll do Jiu Jitsu two to three days a week. There’s a lot of things I can add into my workouts now because I’m not trying to decide, which one am I trying to put energy in? Which one is gonna be more efficient? You know what I’m saying? All these little details that I had to worry about.”
Thoughts on GSP making a comeback to the same weight class Hendricks is currently in
“I can’t wait to retire him again. That’s really what I’ve been thinking. You know, I told him, I have no disrespect for the guy, he did amazing things. But three years out of it, you know, things have changed. And he said that I’m washed out. Well guess what? It’s a new Johny at 185. And I cannot wait for him to see, I can’t wait to see how this happens. Because win or lose, I think he should come after me. I think I should get that loss back. Realistically, you know, it is what it is, but I would like to do it again. I really do. And this time, he thought I was strong at 170, wait till he feels me at 185 when I’m not killing myself to make weight, when I’m not killing myself just to focus on my weight cut. What is he gonna think after the 185-pound match, when I’m totally focused on one thing and one thing only, doing what I did but better? That’s really where my head’s at, is right there.”
What’s more important between a title shot or the GSP rematch
“No, more important is always the title. Hey, like I said, yeah, I wish I could fight him again, but if they said, ‘hey Johny, you can either fight Georges or you could go for the belt,’ I’m gonna take the belt every day. Because if he doesn’t have it, then he’s not on my radar. The only reason he’s on my radar right now is because guess what, if he does beat Bisping, then I want him. Like I said, my goal is to take that belt away and retire him again. That’s all that I can think of. But if he doesn’t win and they say, ‘you’ve got to fight Bisping,’ then I’d choose Bisping over him any day of the week.”
If GSP owes to the division to stick around and defend the belt at least once or a couple of times if he beats Bisping
“Oh yeah, he does. I think that’s the whole point of winning the belt, is to sit here and say, ‘hey, I made a decision to come out of retirement to go for a belt and after I win it, try to defend it once or twice’. Now if he can’t and he wants to go back to retirement, then do it. But if he does and he continues to defend it, then you can sit there and say alright, he might be the best fighter ever.”
Who wins between Bisping/GSP and what his plans are for Tim Boetsch
“You know what, that one is tough. And yes, (the question is) is the size is going to affect him? But you know what, I’ve been fighting guys bigger than me all my life. I really don’t care. I don’t care about size. Size means nothing. I know how to use that size. For example GSP, they said, oh, he could jab me to death. I don’t think he hit me that many times with his jab out of five rounds. So size is only there if you allow it to be there. And can he handle the weight of a 185-pounder for 25 minutes? That’s the question. Even me, I’m pretty excited to see what I can do with Tim Boetsch for 15 minutes. Can I handle his size? Can I do this? And that’s what I’m saying, I want to beat him at his own game. And that means I wanna beat him with the size aspect, I wanna show the world that I can compete at 185. I don’t care how big or how strong people say they are, they haven’t ran into me yet. And that’s really, really important to me to prove that. So that way I can move forward at the 185 division and everybody will start to say, ‘okay, even though he’s 5’9”, he’s still beating up guys just like he did in the welterweight division with 74, 76-inch reach, (his size) doesn’t matter’.”
“Sort of like I’ve been talking about. My goal is I wanna go out there and show the world that hey, I can handle big guys. I am a big guy myself and I plan on, you know, I want a finish. That’s really what I’ve been talking to my boxing coach. I want to get back to being accurate like I used to be. That was one of my greatest attributes, is not to be able to hit hard – I know I have that, but being accurate. That’s what I want to get back to. Because if I can be accurate – I’m hurting people with not being accurate – as soon as I start with the accuracy that I want to have, as soon as I have that back, I’ll start finishing people again. And that’s really what I want to do.”