Johny Hendricks never failed a USADA test or took any performance-enhancing drugs in his career. But, he does say USADA played a big factor in why he retired in 2018.
Hendricks claimed UFC gold back at UFC 171 where he defeated Robbie Lawler to win the vacant belt. He would then lose the title to Lawler in his next fight and USADA would be soon introduced afterward.
After USADA was brought in, Hendricks ended his career just 2-5 while he missed weight three times. Part of the reason why he struggled was his diet as he said he was drinking too much beer and eating fast food instead of getting the right nutrients in his body.
Hendricks also says the fact people accused him of cheating his entire career has hurt him personally as he is someone who doesn’t cheat.
“You know what, I’ll be honest with you, I had 26 random USADA tests and I passed them all. Whenever USADA came in, did my body ever change? What hurt me the most was I always thought if I can’t live life to the fullest then what’s the point? I like to drink beer and eat fast food,” Hendricks said to BJPENN.com. “But, I train just as hard, and if I can’t eat and drink I’ll retire. If I couldn’t enjoy my life and do things with my family, then I won’t do it.
“What sucked, was you have fighters that actually cheat,” he continued. “That’s what kills me about the world in general, you know they are cheating, why are they letting them still fight? It hurts the people who aren’t cheating.”
Although he says he never took steroids, why his performance changed so much was due to USADA banning IVs. He said that made his weight cuts harder and he could never fully recover from them.
So, once IVs were banned, that left Hendricks not being able to live the life he wanted which forced him to retire.
“With IVs, I did really well because I could have the shittiest weight cut ever, pop in an IV, and the next day I was like 80, 90 percent recovered,” he said. “It made me perform the best that I can. Look at how things are now, a lot more people are getting knocked out.
“Although you have 30 hours to re-hydrate, I don’t care if you put down 10 gallons of water, your body can’t absorb it,” Hendricks added. “What hurt me, was after a bad weight cut and no IVs, I couldn’t get back to that 80 or 90 percent. You would need a perfect weight cut and a perfect re-hydration for that to happen.
“For me, I would be on my death bed, give me an IV and I’ll be good. When IVs were removed I remember being in a fight after a minute and thinking where I am,” he continued. “That’s what hurt me is that my muscles, to cut weight, it was tough. I’m not saying I should’ve been that heavy, but that’s why I’m retired. I liked to eat and drink and used the IVs to recover.”
Johny Hendricks has not competed since 2018. But, he did admit he’s getting an itch to compete. But, he says he would need the UFC to add a 175-pound division to do so. He would also need the UFC to let him use IVs so he can perform to the best of his abilities.
What do you make of Johny Hendricks saying USADA played a big role in his retirement?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 4/30/2020.