EXCLUSIVE | Johny Hendricks Believes Title is Next; Wants to Put His Hands on Koscheck
The two time NCAA division 1 wrestling champion did what no one else in the UFC was able to do at UFC 141 last December. He knocked out American Kickboxing Academy standout and perennial number one contender Jon Fitch (pictured).
Hendricks now faces another American Kickboxing Academy Veteran, Josh Koscheck (15-5 UFC). Despite Fitch and Koscheck having similar training backgrounds, Hendricks is aware that they are two different fighters that pose different problems.
“Josh has an overhand right and Fitch didn’t have that type of weapon. Fitch also is a momentum fighter. He starts rolling, and if you don’t interrupt that he will just steamroll you. Josh is a stage to stage fighter. He doesn’t care if the moment is going his way. He just wants to win the round period. It doesn’t matter how he does it, he just wants to win it”, Hendricks said.
Johny also knows he has a tougher fight on his hands this time around.
“Koscheck is a tougher fight than Fitch. Fitch is dangerous, but Josh has an overhand right and better hands. Both are the same time type of fighter, but Koscheck has knockout power and Jon doesn’t. Josh is definitely more dangerous”.
With the fight being on a major network like FOX, one would expect fighters on the the UFC on FOX 3 card to feel added pressure to perform. While the experience is humbling, Hendricks disagrees.
“I was watching NASCAR and all of the sudden my commercial comes on. It was a surreal moment and that type of stuff just motivates me. I don’t feel any extra pressure like you would think. If you let the added stress of being on a big stage get to you then you’re probably going to end up doing something stupid. You have to go out there and focus on nothing more than what’s going on in that Octagon. I’ll be focused on Josh and nothing else on May 5th”.
In the midst of all this pre-fight chaos, Johnny is scheduled to make a hospital visit this week with the charitable MMA clothing line Fight Ribbon.
“It’s important for me to give back. I want to go there and make those people feel a little better than they did when I got there. If I can make someone make it through one hour a day better then it’s worth it. It’s basically that I was born in to a below average home and we didn’t have a lot of things. We did have a lot of love and I want to make sure that not only my family has that experience, but others as well. You can’t just be a fighter you know. You can’t be one dimensional. Things like this help balance me out”, Hendricks said.
With his most important fight to date just a few weeks away, Hendricks is well aware that the outcome of this fight could put him in line for a shot at the welterweight championship held by Georges St-Pierre.
“I think if I beat Josh the next fight probably will, and should be a title shot. I didn’t get in this sport just to win fights. I want to win the belt or at least get a shot it. There are two things no one has been able to do and that’s stop Jon fitch for one. The other is beat these two AKA veterans back to back, Josh and Jon. I don’t think anyone has done that and if I do that it most likely gives me that title shot. I shouldn’t have to fight again after this before I get that opportunity”, said Johny.
Hendricks feels he has more dynamics that Koscheck will have to contend with than he will. While Johny acknowledges that Koscheck has a solid skillset he also feels he has the advantage in all departments.
“My left hand is always there and so is my jiu jitsu. No one’s ever really seen my jiu jitsu. I’ve rolled with some of the best guys available and I’ve done well with them. The difference is that I can’t throw punches with them in training, but in the Octagon I can. Being able to throw punches, to use them to set things up makes jiu jitsu a little easier. Koscheck is dangerous for sure and my ground game counts. Seriously, we don’t know what we’re going to be dealing with. If he’s forcing the takedown we will definitely have to be ready for that”.
Johny knows that Josh is a moving target and that other fighters have had failed gameplans against him. Hendricks has set himself up with a camp that he feels will prepare him for anything.
“I have like 5 or 6 solid game plans right now. In a fight stuff changes so fast. Most of the time those five or six will merge in to one when I get in to a rhythm. What I’ve realized is that fighting guys like Fitch, something might be odd out there, and you may have to throw any plans you have out the window. You have to be able to adapt and if that doesn’t work, adapt again. You have to know your opponent or your gonna lose. You’re not going to get your hand raised if you can’t adapt”, Hendricks said.
UFC on FOX 3 is schedule to air on May 5, 2012. Johny Hendricks vs. Josh Koscheck will co-main event the card headlined by Nate Diaz vs. Jim Miller. Johny made it clear that the excitement for this fight is not just with the fans.
“I want to get my hands on Josh pretty bad”, Hendricks stated. “I’ve done a lot of interviews, and I’m almost at the point where I’m tired of talking about it. All I want to do is fight him. Every time I do an interview I know I am one day closer. I’m absolutely ecstatic”, he concluded.