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Johny Hendricks On Neil Magny, Retirement, Weight-Cutting

Johny Hendricks was a guest recently on “Submission Radio.”

The former UFC welterweight champion discussed his upcoming fight with Neil Magny, cutting weight and retiring:

If the UFC spoke to Hendricks about moving to Middleweight for his fight at UFC 207 after missing weight at UFC 200

“They just put it at welterweight. Here’s the thing, a quarter of a pound, yeah it’s still missing weight, but it’s still a quarter of a pound. And if I had to move to middleweight to do a fight over a quarter of a pound to do a fight, then that’s what I gotta do, but they didn’t say anything. Because I think, really, a couple of the guys that are UFC guys thought that it broke (even) whenever I was on 171.”

What Johny means buy UFC guys thinking his weight broke even

“Yeah so on a beam scale, it’s just gotta break. Meaning that when it touches the top of the scale, if it breaks, then you make weight. That’s how you make weight. But they’re not the people who are getting to judge it. So just because they may want me to make weight, who knows. And that’s, like I said, you live and die by the scale, but a quarter of a pound, I’m not even worried about it because right now I’m under 200. I’ve still got 10 weeks to train until my fight. I’m taking it more serious, and the reason why I want to do that is because whenever I get there, I still want to lose ten pounds like I did last time – I think I had to lose like 12 or 13. This time I want to lose 10 pounds because I don’t think it’s going to hurt me now that we have so much time to gain weight back. If I can be 10 pounds over, I’ll still be able to get to 186, 188 and fight, and I think that’s a great fighting weight for me.”

How hard it was having a conversation with his wife where she criticized what he looked like in his last fight

“Here’s the thing, you’re not going to meet a tougher critic than myself. Listen to my interviews that I did right after that fight. That’s not the guy who won the belt, that’s the guy who’s just in the motion. That’s the guy that’s just sitting here, he’s waking up, doesn’t wanna do a different job, he likes his job, but he’s not competing at his full potential. That’s what fighter has been out there and that’s the guy that y’all have seen in the last two fights. And now I’m over the point where, hey guess what, I thought it was a good conversation to have because here’s the thing, if my wife is not behind me, then I’m not gonna be at my full potential either. I’m a firm believer in that. I think that as soon as you get married you become one and the good lord makes me have to listen to what she says as well. And that’s really why I hold her values to a higher standard as well. When she tells me something, I sit there and say, alright, then this is what we gotta do. Then we talk about it – alright, what do you have to do to become a great fighter again or to perform like I should? One; I have to become an athlete again. With four kids, my wife is running around like a chicken with her head cut off. She is everywhere. She has four different soccer practices a week – we play soccer on Saturdays, my girls play soccer on Sunday – that’s not even counting having a six-month-old boy that she has to lug around everywhere. So not only does she have to get four kids ready, but she’s gotta get three of them to soccer games on Saturday and then on Sunday has to control three kids and get another one to soccer practice as well. So what we compromised is, on the weekends I will be dedicated and everything, but I have to become a little bit more selfish. Meaning that whenever it’s training time, I say, ‘I have to train these times, I have to train’. It puts her in a bind, it does, but that’s where I know that I can trust her and that she’s going keep it at home. And these last couple of fights, I didn’t want to travel. I didn’t want to do anything. I wanted to work out. So technically, my last two fights I’ve only been working out once a day, five days a week – and that’s if I don’t travel somewhere. So I was only working out once a day (for) my last two fights. Now I’ve already started two-a-days. I’ve been going back to Oklahoma State, doing all those kind of things. I’m sort of asking myself, what got me to the championship? And what got me there is the mental aspect that wrestling gives me and that coach (John) Smith gives me. My coaches here, Steven Wright and Tony Cabello, they do an amazing job, but the mental aspects that I need, that I want to compete with (is in) wrestling. You can’t beat wrestling.”

If Hendricks still plans on retiring if he loses his fight at UFC 207 and if there’s a scenario in which he losses where he could still fight again

“No. No. I’m not gonna be the guy that just fights to make money. The money aspect is whatever. If want to fight, I want to be the best I can be. And in those last two performances, I told my wife, I said, ‘if I have another fight like that, I’m done. I’m not performing to my best ability,’ and I really do believe that and I think I got over that hump. I think the hump was that I was just going through the motions. I was okay with where I was at, I was satisfied. I was satisfied with being a UFC champion, I was satisfied with being in the top ten. You can’t be satisfied in this sport. The only thing I can think of is I want to win, I want to win, I want to win. I’m done being satisfied. And if I go out there and I lose another fight because I don’t pull the trigger, I don’t fight to my full potential, well guess what – I’m done and I’m not going to continue to do that and put my wife through me being gone a lot and all those kinds of things, just to do something that I enjoy. Because realistically, yeah I love training, I love training the art of Mixed Martial Arts, I love learning, but I can do that without getting punched in the face (laughs). But I think with the mindset I have right now, retiring is not in my future. Cause right now a lot of people are probably saying, ‘is Johny washed up? Is he done? Is he going to lose this fight and he’s going to retire?’ Right? That’s probably what a lot of people are thinking, ‘Johny was something’. But I still believe I can be, and I had to get that mind frame back. I had to get that mind frame back, that hey, I still have things I can do with this sport, I can still go out there and win a championship. Now how do I do this? By busting your butt every day, waking up sore, can’t move. That’s what it takes, in my mind, and that’s what I’m doing right now. There’s times that you wake up, your body’s aching so bad, but I just look at myself and I say, what do you want to be? Do you want to be a guy who loses this fight because you’re tired and sore, or do you want to be the guy that everybody goes, ‘dang, he made a 180’? And that’s really what I’m trying to do right now. I’m trying to tell myself that I can make that 180, this is how I do it.”

“Whenever I go out there and I don’t fight the best that I can or perform the best that I can, I take it to heart and I question, ‘do you want to do this’. I don’t need somebody to tell me, ‘hey Johny, you didn’t look that good’. Yeah, I do have those guys, but they usually soften up because I’m like, ‘dude I looked like crap’. There’s no way that I would’ve won a championship fighting the way that I just had in my last two fights. And I’m not saying nothing against those two guys, the other two guys were tough. But in my mind, I’m just not fighting the way I know I can. And that’s what I have to get back to. And guess what? If I can’t, then it’s time to say, hey, Johny you tried it and it’s just not in your path. Maybe the good lord has something else planed for me. And that’s really my faith is that the good lord blessed me with a lot of things and he blessed me with two national titles, he blessed me with a UFC championship and if I never get back to it, the good lord is gonna lead me in another way where I can reach kids and maybe I can turn them into what I was. That’s what I’m looking at.”

Thoughts on Neil Magny as a performer and if height and reach is a problem for him

“No. I fought Carlos Condit, you know, he’s a tall guy. I’ve fought some other guys who are tall, and even Stephen Thompson. Whenever I fought him, like I said, the first minute was going my way. But as soon as I got into my mindset that I was going to stand in the middle, you come fight me, I can’t have that. So guess what? If I’m Neil Magny I sort of follow the gameplan that Stephen Thompson did – use your range, use your distance and try to get me flustered. So guess what? What did I do the first minute with Stephen Thompson? I used angles, I used angles, I kept moving. It was hard for me, don’t get me wrong, you’re going to get punched, but nothing landed cleanly because I was constantly moving. That’s what I have to get back to. I have to sit there and say, alright, here’s the what I have to do. I’m training two different ways, because Magny does like to come forward, he does like to put pressure on you. Now if that’s the case, I think it’s going to be a great fight, because I’ve fought taller guys, I’ve been able to hurt taller guys and I’m okay with that. But let’s say that he tries to mix it up and say it’s not going the way I want it to and I need to use my distance. That’s sort of the fight that I’m also preparing for as well. And like I said, that’s something that I didn’t know about myself. So what if someone does flee? Do you lose your cool like you did against Stephen Thompson? Well yeah, I did. So how do you fix that? You get guys who are gonna do that, that are gonna run, that are gonna sit there and use their length and fight a style where you get flustered, you start overanalysing things and you stay still. So if I’m Magny, I look at that and I say, that’s what I’m gonna try. I’m gonna try to keep him at bay, make him where he has to analyse this and that. And so for me, I’m thinking, alright, I use my footwork, I use my quickness, I use my explosiveness. That’s how I beat Neil Magny.”

Message to all of his fans and doubters

“I’m to the point that my wife might even say, I win this fight and she says, ‘Johny, I don’t like you being gone, I’d love for you be home more,’ and I say, ‘alright baby, I’m gonna do it’. I literally don’t care what’s next. I don’t care about anything. I’m literally at the point in my career where I am taking it one fight. Nothing matters after December 30th. Right now, December 30th is the only thing on my radar, nothing else. And I even have people that are like, ‘hey, what are you gonna do’? I’m like literally, ‘December 30th’, and Coach Smith is one of the guys that sort of told me that. He’s like, ‘Johny, take it one fight at a time, you’re spreading yourself too thin. You need to get back to what you did prior and what you need to do is you need to focus on this guy and only this guy. Nothing else in this world matters except for this guy’. And that’s really what I took to heart and that’s what I’m doing.”

Prediction for how he beats Neil

“I see myself winning. I’m going back to the old ways. I’m gonna try and start finishing people. I’m gonna let my left hand go and that’s really what I’m looking at. I want to go out there and I want people to fear my hands again, and that’s what I’m gonna do.”