When Johnny Hendricks moved to Las Vegas to become a professional fighter he did not anticipate going undefeated for two years. Yet as we sit on the eve of UFC 107 in Memphis, Tennessee after six professional bouts that’s exactly what he is. However when you ask Johnny how he was able to achieve such success so early his deflection of praise speaks volumes to an Oklahoma upbringing.
“God blessed me that’s all, family, friends, my managers, just everything, my trainers, and my workout partners. It’s not me, you know, I’m the one out there doing it at that point in time but I reflect my training partners who I’ve been training with, you know what I mean? So if I’m with good workout partners I’m going to go out there and be the best I could be. Being 6-0 I really don’t think about that too much just because one fight could end it all and so I want to make sure every fight I go into I’m thinking like I’m 0-0. I got to fight to stay.”
As a collegiate wrestler, Hendricks is known for his ground game, now enhanced by training with Cobra Kai owner/instructor, Marc Laimon. But a glance at Hendricks record tells another tale, a tale of two hands that have taken Hendricks to the undefeated platform in spectacular fashion. Debuting in 2007, Hendricks won his first two professional fights by TKO followed by a third submission victory. At that point the eyes of the World Extreme Cage fighting organization were fixed on him and he debuted there against Justin Haskins with similar results; a second round TKO. A unanimous decision win over Alex Serdyukov followed then a surprise upgrade to the welterweight ranks of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
That was the point life changed. Taking on TUF 7 winner, Amir Sadollah, Hendricks crumpled him via TKO 29 seconds into the first round. Hendricks had arrived onto the big stage taking away Saddollah’s undefeated status and adding a little tarnish to his fighting image. Now Hendrick’s faces yet another undefeated UFC debutante in Ricardo Funch. The Marco Alvan trained fighter works out of the same camp as Gabriel Gonzaga and is also making a reputation for his hands.
“I don’t know (his strengths) -we’ve only seen a couple of things on him. We only have one and a half rounds of him fighting so we don’t have much at all to go with. I do know his strengths are his ground game, which is good because I work with Marc Laimon and that’s where I think I’m the best at too. I would like to know exactly what his weaknesses are but we’ve only got a round and that was a 3-minute round. We’re sitting here and we saw him get his back taken but he ended up on top with the guy at the end of the round so we we’re like, ‘that might be a weakness,’ but if we had one more fight to compare it to then we can say yea or nay. I’m starting to get my good striking in there but I’m definitely way better on that ground.”
In all Hendricks is enjoying the ride and hoping to keep his momentum going. With this fight against Funch getting him closer to cementing his name amongst the fans, Hendricks is focused on the task at hand.
“I will always go out there and try to finish the win. Decisions aren’t my style and I want to go out there every time and wear my heart on my sleeve. Go out there and do everything it takes to get your hand raised that’s my main motto. To get to where I want to be I have to do that.”