Several years ago, NCAA Division I All-American Johny Hendricks was considered to be one of the best fighters on the planet. After dropping a controversial split decision to Georges St-Pierre in the main event of UFC 167 back in 2013, Hendricks went on to win the vacant welterweight championship by defeating Robbie Lawler at UFC 171.
In just his next fight, Hendricks lost the belt to Robbie Lawler via split decision, in a fight which was considered controversial by many. Since then, Hendricks has gone on a bit of a skid, going just 1-2, recently going on a 2-fight losing streak that most recently saw him drop a unanimous decision to Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 200 in a catchweight fight due to Hendricks missing weight.
Ahead of his UFC 207 scrap with Neil Magny on December 30th, Hendricks explained to MMAJunkie why retirement could very well be right around the corner:
“As soon as my wife says, ‘Honey, I want you home more,’ that’s when I’m done,” Hendricks said. “Even if I win this fight, (I could retire). We have four kids now, and she needs help, and I get that and I want to be a father in my kids’ life.
“I know for my career this isn’t my last fight – unless my wife says so. I have a feeling I’m going to go out there and show I am going back to the old me. I want to show I do still want to compete in this sport and that I can.”
In the midst of a 2-fight skid, Hendricks believes that the changes he’s made to his training camp ahead of this fight with Magny will be a major difference-maker and will bring him back to the top of the welterweight division:
“If I don’t win this fight, then obviously it’s not my fighting skills, it’s my willingness to train,” Hendricks said. “That’s sort of where my mindset is. I’m back to training hard and working out hard. But let’s say something does happen and I lose – for one I would be a gate keeper. For two, I don’t want to just fight the fights. It’s a waste to beat yourself up for 12 weeks and go from there. Then I can also put more time into my kids and all that stuff, and that’s really where my head’s been.
“I’m going back and wrestling and wrestling and really focusing on that,” he continued. “Whenever I got to the belt, it wasn’t who I worked out with or how many great partners I had. There was one common denominator: It was wrestling. Those kids (I work with) at Oklahoma State, all they remember you as is a two-time national champion, and they want to beat you up. That pride, I already feel it coming back. Work hard, grind it out, do whatever it takes to win. That’s where my head’s at right now: Do whatever it takes to win. … That’s all I can think about right now. Neil Magny, I have 10 weeks, and in 10 weeks it’s hopefully everyone is going to say, ‘What did Johny do different?’”