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Friday, 03/15/2013, 04:01 pm

EXCLUSIVE | Mike Dolce: “This is the most prepared [Hendricks] has been so far.” | BJPENN.COM Radio

Famed MMA lifestyle coach Mike Dolce, who joined BJPENN.COM Radio this past Wednesday, March 13, is in Montreal for the UFC 158 card this weekend from the Bell Centre, with the main event pitting hometown hero Georges “Rush” St-Pierre against Stockton-bred fighter Nick Diaz. Having been in Montreal for three previous GSP fights, Dolce went on record to say that the atmosphere was electric.

However, Dolce is not in town for pleasure; he’s there on business. Johnny Hendricks, the number one ranked welterweight contender and one of the fighters whose preparation Dolce overlooks, is featured in the co-main event against Carlos “The Natural Born Killer Condit”, who is the last man to face St-Pierre inside the Octagon.

Dolce spoke about Hendricks’ preparation for the Condit and gave some unique insight as to exactly what we can expect from “Bigg Rigg” this weekend.

“This is my fourth fight now with Johnny, I started with him prior to the Jon Fitch fight. So we went Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck, Martin Kampmann and Carlos Condit, and this is the most prepared he’s been so far. And if you look at his last three performances, I think he was pretty darn prepared for those also.

“Physically, everyone’s commenting just how much better he looks now than he ever has, and this is the UFC administrative staff and just people seeing him around the hotel. So taking that criteria, taking the data his coaches have been giving us all fight camp, and just Johnny’s general demeanor: He looks great, he smiles, he’s happy, he’s in the middle of a deep weight cut and he still feels great, looks great. So, all things point to a very successful night on Saturday” Dolce said, touting his fighter’s preparation and physique less than a week out from the contest.

Hendricks trains with Team Takedown, led by his head coach and jiu-jitsu instructor, Marc Laimon. Dolce noted that Laimon and the Team Takedown staff dedicate 40-plus hours a week to their fighters, which he believes has contributed to Hendricks’ string of success despite his lack of experience when compared to other elite 170-pound fighters.

It is that closeness and professional atmosphere that also helps Dolce in his journey to get Hendricks safely to the 171-pound limit for this weekend’s clash with Condit. Dolce believes Hendricks may be the biggest challenge he has as far as cutting weight goes, which due to his dense muscles and skeletal frame puts him around 210 pounds when he isn’t in training camp.

“Johnny weighed in at 196 on Tuesday when we checked into Montreal, and everyone was like, ‘Wow! You look amazing!’ And he does, I mean he’s just massive and muscular; he’s in great shape. That’s a big dude man, and Johnny’s my height, he’s 5’9”- 5’10”. So he’s not an exceptionally tall welterweight, he’s actually in the height range to be a lightweight, he’s just got so much damn muscle on his frame” Dolce said.

Despite the immense challenge of shedding 15 pounds less than a week from a fight, Dolce believes in his system, along with the other members of Hendricks’ camp, can make it happen.

“He’s just a really massive, powerful, stocky guy, so for him to make 170 I mean, we’re walking that fine line. Based upon, you know, his-I mean he could certainly fight as a middleweight based upon power and speed, but he doesn’t have the leverage components of height & reach and such, so 170 is the weight class he chooses to be in. But for him to get down to 171, 170, it takes every ounce of effort on the team’s part to make sure he does so in the safest manner possible to ensure that career-defining performance the next night.”

To hear our exclusive interview with Mike Dolce in its entirety, click here and listen to BJPENN.COM Radio on demand.

UFC 158 takes place this Saturday, March 16 from the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and live on pay-pew-view starting at 10 PM/ET.

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