Last month, former UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks made headlines when he revealed that his upcoming UFC 207 fight with Neil Magny could very well be his last fight in the Octagon before retiring from MMA. While Hendricks at one point was considered as one of the best welterweights on the planet, even beating welterweight kingpin Georges St-Pierre in the eyes of many at UFC 167 in 2013, he has since gone just 2-3 in his last 5. Over the course of his last 5 fights, Hendricks won the vacant welterweight championship by defeating Robbie Lawler, then losing the belt to Lawler in a narrow rematch.
Following his loss to Lawler, Hendricks picked up a unanimous decision win over Matt Brown, before going on a 2-fight losing streak that has seen him suffer the first TKO loss of his career to Stephen Thompson, and then drop a unanimous decision to Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 200.
Hendricks recently stated that if he were to lose to Magny, he very well could step away from MMA to help his wife take care of his children. Hendricks mentioning retirement certainly left MMA fans shocked, however he clarified during an interview with Submission Radio:
“I want to be the best I can be. And in those last two performances, I told my wife, I said, ‘if I have another fight like that, I’m done. I’m not performing to my best ability,’ and I really do believe that and I think I got over that hump. I think the hump was that I was just going through the motions. I was okay with where I was at, I was satisfied. I was satisfied with being a UFC champion, I was satisfied with being in the top ten. You can’t be satisfied in this sport. The only thing I can think of is I want to win, I want to win, I want to win. I’m done being satisfied. And if I go out there and I lose another fight because I don’t pull the trigger, I don’t fight to my full potential, well guess what – I’m done and I’m not going to continue to do that and put my wife through me being gone a lot and all those kinds of things, just to do something that I enjoy. Because realistically, yeah I love training, I love training the art of Mixed Martial Arts, I love learning, but I can do that without getting punched in the face (laughs). But I think with the mindset I have right now, retiring is not in my future. Cause right now a lot of people are probably saying, ‘is Johny washed up? Is he done? Is he going to lose this fight and he’s going to retire?’ Right? That’s probably what a lot of people are thinking, ‘Johny was something’. But I still believe I can be, and I had to get that mind frame back. I had to get that mind frame back, that hey, I still have things I can do with this sport, I can still go out there and win a championship. Now how do I do this? By busting your butt every day, waking up sore, can’t move. That’s what it takes, in my mind, and that’s what I’m doing right now. There’s times that you wake up, your body’s aching so bad, but I just look at myself and I say, what do you want to be? Do you want to be a guy who loses this fight because you’re tired and sore, or do you want to be the guy that everybody goes, ‘dang, he made a 180’? And that’s really what I’m trying to do right now. I’m trying to tell myself that I can make that 180, this is how I do it.”
“Whenever I go out there and I don’t fight the best that I can or perform the best that I can, I take it to heart and I question, ‘do you want to do this’. I don’t need somebody to tell me, ‘hey Johny, you didn’t look that good’. Yeah, I do have those guys, but they usually soften up because I’m like, ‘dude I looked like crap’. There’s no way that I would’ve won a championship fighting the way that I just had in my last two fights. And I’m not saying nothing against those two guys, the other two guys were tough. But in my mind, I’m just not fighting the way I know I can. And that’s what I have to get back to. And guess what? If I can’t, then it’s time to say, hey, Johny you tried it and it’s just not in your path.”