Former UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks, who retired from MMA this summer, is gearing up for bareknuckle fight with former Bellator welterweight contender Brennan Ward. The fight will go down on November 9, in the main event of the debut show from World Bareknuckle Fighting Federation (WBKFF).
While this bareknuckle fight is something of an experiment for Johny Hendricks, he says it’s something he’s considering committing to for a while.
“Man, you know what? I have a feeling I could do it for a while,” Johny Hendricks said on The MMA Hour recently (transcript via MMA Fighting).
“My first coach ever in MMA, he was a bare-knuckle world champ in Thailand. … He showed me a lot of techniques, how to strengthen your hand and all of that kind of stuff, how you can actually punish the body and where to hit on the arms, this and this, what to look for. So I’m sort of going back to that stage as well, where to hit on the arms, how to make sure that after the first round — let’s say it goes past the first round — that he can no longer use his right arm because it hurts too bad, or his left arm, because I keep punishing it the way [I want to with] some of the game plans I have in my head already. Those things can help.”
Johny Hendricks then delved into the matchup with Ward itself, and how he’ll have to adjust his strategy given that this fight will be contested sans gloves.
“I think what’s going to happen is he’s going to be looking to land that right hand, just as I’m looking to land my left hand. The only difference is that, with bare knuckle, you can’t throw as hard as you want to,” he said. “It’s about accuracy, and that’s what really makes me excited about this, because I am a very accurate puncher. My accuracy is very well whenever it comes to seeing where the punch lands, where it needs to land, and sort of what comes next. … This is what [my coach Tony Cabello] has done forever. He grew up boxing.”
How do you think Johny Hendricks will fair in the perilous world of bareknuckle fighting?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 10/2/2018.