Few things in the recent history of MMA world champions have been quite as shocking as Johny Hendricks’ fall from grace. The former NCAA Division 1 wrestler out of Oklahoma State went from being a UFC champion with a record of 16-2 in his career to losing six of his last eight fights and being forced up a weight class after multiple misses.
On top of all this, Hendricks’ UFC contract has expired and he is currently a free agent. However, despite his uncertainty on whether or not he would be returning to the organization he was once a champion of, some signals are being given out that the UFC may still have interest reports Brett Okamoto:
Ran into Johny Hendricks in Las Vegas today. He's spending time at UFC PI, strength and conditioning and nutrition planning. Not even signed to UFC right now, but they invited him out. He's considering 170 again. Believes he has plenty left.
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) March 7, 2018
Ran into Johny Hendricks in Las Vegas today. He’s spending time at UFC PI, strength and conditioning and nutrition planning. Not even signed to UFC right now, but they invited him out. He’s considering 170 again. Believes he has plenty left.
With Hendricks’ recent record as of late, it would come as a fairly large surprise to see him re-sign with the UFC but one has to imagine that him still being invited to the performance institute is a good sign for him.
An even bigger surprise may be that he wants to potentially give 170 another go… Ever since moving up to middleweight he has spoken greatly about how much better it feels to not have to cut that weight(although he might have felt too good about it for his second to last fight against Tim Boetsch as he missed weight even at 185).
Who knows if we’ll see Hendricks back in the UFC for his next outing but as he told Luke Thomas last month, he’s pretty open to whatever right now:
“RIGHT NOW, THE WAY THAT I’VE BEEN TRAINING, I’M STARTING TO GET IN BETTER SHAPE. I’M JUST INCHING MY WAY BACK IN THERE. I WOULD HOPE FOR…A MAY CARD WOULDN’T BE BAD FOR ME. I’M NOT SITTING HERE WAITING TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS WITH MY CONTRACT, I’M ALREADY GETTING READY FOR SOMETHING AND DOING EVERYTHING I CAN TO SEE WHERE IT GOES.
THAT’S THE THING, RIGHT NOW I DON’T KNOW WHERE. WHATEVER THE BEST WAY IS FOR ME. WE HAVE TALKED, IT JUST DEPENDS REALLY ON WHO’S MORE WILLING TO KEEP ME AROUND. AND THAT’S SORT OF WHERE MY HEADS AT. I KNOW I CAN STILL GET BETTER, I CAN STILL DO WHAT I WANT TO DO. WHENEVER MOST PEOPLE GET HICCUPS IN THEIR ROAD, THEY MOVE OFF AND VEER OFF TO SOMETHING ELSE. WHERE…BEING AN ATHLETE ALL MY LIFE, WHENEVER YOU RUN INTO HARD TIMES, LIKE FOR ME I CAN’T QUIT. I WANT TO PUT ON THE HEIGHT AND I CAN. I CAN. I JUST REALLY THINK THAT I HAVE A LOT MORE TO PROVE TO THIS WORLD THEN I HAVE.”
What do you think is next for the former UFC welterweight champion?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 3/6/2018