Exclusive: Johny Hendricks on Family, Friends and Training with Kampmann
Competition is a huge part of Hendricks life, but family and friends are also very important to the 29-year-old Oklahoma native. Not that we needed proof, but we spoke to Hendricks minutes after helping a friend of his move into a new house.
It’s not every day you could find a man who is preparing for the biggest fight of his career lifting heavy boxes and risking injury, but Hendricks isn’t an every day guy. While he wants to go down as a champion and a great fighter there are other things that are more important to him.
Hendricks has told me that when he’s done fighting he wants to be remembered for being a good friend and dedicated family man. There is nothing that excites him more than the time he gets to spend with his wife Christina and two young daughters. I can recall a conversation in which he told me how his little girls love when he plays the role of the horse and gives them rides around his house.
“You’ve gotta live life, I love fighting and I know this is the most important fight of my career, but I also know it doesn’t mean anything if I don’t have my friends and family in my corner,” Hendricks told BJPenn.Com Radio. “I feel bad because I had a friend moving who had no help, I couldn’t let him do it alone, but on a positive note I can count it as a training day!”
“When I wasn’t training I took my family on a couple of trips, we went to Branson, MO and we also went to Sea World. All I’ve really been doing is trying to be more of a family guy; I’m starting to figure out how to train and still go home and spend time with my family. These next three weeks are going to be hard on them, but I’m blessed to have a wife who is so supportive. For the most part I’m just trying to relax and enjoy life. I get recognized more these days and it can be easy to get caught up in that, but that’s when I take a step back so I don’t get blinded by it all.”
After defeating perennial welterweight contenders Jon Fitch and Josh Koscheck back to back, Hendricks was matched up with Kampmann and the winner will more than likely face whoever emerges victorious from the UFC 154 main event pitting UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre vs. interim champion Carlos Condit. With so much at stake, Hendricks is pulling out all the stops.
“I feel awesome, emotionally and physically, I just got back from Oklahoma State where I trained with the wrestling team for a week,” said Hendricks. “I feel as though we are learning how to make the best of each camp. You’re going to have bumps and bruises, but you’re preparing for one night so you put everything to the side and tell yourself no matter what happens, I have to win at all costs.”
Kampmann and Hendricks have spent time training with one another and both men will tell you there is absolutely no bad blood between them. With that being said, neither fighter is going to let personal feelings get in the way of them trying to knock each other out and earn that elusive title shot. Hendricks and Kampmann know what each others strengths and weaknesses are and whoever can exploit those weaknesses first will be the one to have their hand raised.
“This is something that I’ve been waiting for, I’ve wanted to fight someone that I know,” Hendricks admitted. “If anyone can beat you, it’s usually somebody that knows you. I’m actually training harder for this fight than I have for any other fight. Martin knows how I train and he knows what type of person I am. I think back to my wrestling days and whenever I wrestled one of my buddies I knew he might know a couple of tricks on how to beat me. Kampmann might know something or he might not, but I’m training like he knows everything about me.”
“I know that I have more power and I know that I’m the better wrestler. In my mind I believe those are the two most important aspects of this fight. Kampmann is a tough guy who is very hard to finish and while I would love to finish him all I really want is to go in there and get my hand raised. I’ve laid the foundation and I’m where I want to be, I know I’m one fight away from a title shot. If I start looking into things I want to do rather than what I need to do, I might lose this fight.”
“I’m training for a hard three round fight and from what we’ve seen in the past with him, you might be kicking his butt the whole three rounds and with a minute left he catches you. You have to fight him from the first second until the last second. You can’t allow yourself any time to relax what so ever.”