In the co-main event of the UFC’s latest trip to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Johny Hendricks rebounded from a string of losses and failed cuts to welterweight by moving to middleweight and defeating Hector Lombard by decision. Now a little over a week removed from this successful middleweight debut, Hendricks joined Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour to discuss his future in the division.
After confirming that he’s done with the welterweight division for good, Hendricks was asked about the size disadvantage he’s likely to deal with when facing the middleweight division’s larger fighters.
“You know what, yes,” Hendricks said when asked if he was concerned about the physical disadvantage he’d be at against hulking middleweights like Luke Rockhold and Yoel Romero. “But guess what? You never know until you try.”
Hendricks then went on to explain that he’s plenty familiar with fighting rangier foes, and that occasionally, there are benefits to being the smaller man in the cage.
“Here’s the thing,” he said. “Look at [my fight with Neil Magny]. He had an 80-inch reach. How many times did he hit me?”
“I think he hit me twice,” Hendricks continued.” Maybe I’ll give him ten. I don’t remember ten, but he’s so long that whenever he throws, I mean he might as well say ‘hey I’m going to throw with my right hand, hey I’m going to throw with my left hand,’ because it’s so easy to see the punches come from that distance. The taller the person is, the easier it is to read sort of where they’re coming from. And that’s why Carlos Condit – he hit me – but he didn’t hit me as much as people thought. And he had what, a 76-inch reach? Most people that I fight have 73 to 76-inch reach. I’ve had to deal with that my whole entire life.”
Hendricks then explained that at 185, he’s not worried about surrendering a strength advantage to his opponents.
“Now that I’m moving up, the only thing is that now I actually get to keep my strength. They were like ‘Hector Lombard is a strong guy, can Johny hang with one of the stronger [middleweights]? Well I guess I proved that I’m stronger than he was.”
What do you think the future holds for a middleweight Johny Hendricks? Sound off, PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 2/27/2017.