Twelve seconds is all it took for Johny Hendricks to launch himself into the upper echelon of the tightly packed UFC Welterweight division. At UFC 141, Hendricks quickly dispatched former title challenger and top ranked Welterweight Jon Fitch with a first round knockout via devastating left hand. Even though the fight may have lasted only a few brief moments, it would be incredibly naive to suggest that Johny’s ascent to the elite level of the Welterweight division was quick or easy. Hendricks was multi-time NCAA Division I wrestling champion and 4-time All-American at Oklahoma State University. He went on to make his ZUFFA debut fighting under the WEC banner after only three professional fights, earning a pair of wins. Following his brief stint in the WEC he made the jump to the UFC, where he exploded onto the scene with an impressive 29 second knockout victory over Ultimate Fighter winner Amir Sadollah. Since joining the UFC, Hendricks has compiled an impressive 7-1 record fighting against some of the best competition in the world including 4 knockout wins, 2 of which earning him the coveted Knock Out of the Night bonus (Fitch and Waldburger).
On May 5th, 2012 Hendricks will take another step in his MMA career when he meets Josh Koscheck in the UFC on Fox 3 co-main. A fellow Collegiate wrestling standout and long time resident of the Welterweight division’s Top 10 rankings, Koscheck offers another tough challenge for Johny as he looks to continue his assault on the 170 pound division. A second win over a former UFC title challenger will further cement Hendricks as a top contender in the division and could put him on the brink of his own shot at championship gold. Prior to his UFC on Fox 3 matchup, Johny Hendricks took the time to sit down and answer a few questions for Kamikazeoverdrive.net.
KO: You’re a decorated collegiate wrestler, how did your experiences there help you to transition to becoming a successful Mixed Martial Artist?
JH: I’d have to say everything I experienced wrestling at OSU prepared me to be successful in the cage. The training, weight cutting, and competing at a high level all were things I’m very familiar with so
there was no learning curve in these areas.
KO: Over your career you have picked up 7 wins by knockout, including 4 in the UFC was there a particular fight or moment where you really started to feel comfortable with your striking?
JH: Yes it was after my first fight that I made myself get comfortable because that’s where every fight starts and I knew if I was to be good at this sport I needed to get good there first and then everything else could follow.
KO: At UFC 141 you picked up a 12 second knockout over top ranked Welterweight Jon Fitch. What was your initial reaction when you first landed your left hand?
JH: As soon as I hit him he fell and then the ref jumped in. The first thing I thought was; this is awesome! Is this really happening? Then I saw Joe Silva walk in the cage and I asked him, was that good enough for Knockout of the Night?
KO: Heading into that matchup you were considered by many to be an underdog, do you pay much attention to betting odds or fighter rankings prior to a fight?
JH: No not really but I did tell all the media before my fight with Fitch that they should not count me out and that that the Lord blessed with me with a powerful left hand. It only takes one punch. The more pressure that’s on me to lose the better I perform. I like to meet my challenges head on.
KO: At UFC on Fox 3 you’re fighting Josh Koscheck, who throughout his career has wholeheartedly embraced the role of the ‘bad guy’. Has Josh fired any shots your way in the lead up to the fight?
JH: Honestly, I have not really paid any attention to that stuff. I don’t want anything getting in my head and I want to stay focused on my task at hand.
KO: When preparing for a fight like this do you go back and study your opponent’s previous fights, especially considering you have both recently fought a common opponent in Mike Pierce?
JH: Yes, Marc Laimon, Team Takedown’s head trainer/coach is a firm believer in reviewing film and excellent at breaking it down to come up with specific strategies for each opponent.
KO: Comparing your skills, where do you feel your greatest advantage(s) will be against Josh?
JH: Everything. I’m ready. I’ve had an excellent camp and every aspect of my game feels sharp and I feel very prepared. I’ve done my homework and excited for the opportunity to fight someone like Koscheck. I want to fight the best guys out there.
KO: Besides getting your hand raised at the end of the night, do you have a specific game plan heading into the fight?
JH: Of course, but I can’t tell you! lol!
KO: Not to look past this fight, but with a win over Koscheck you will have beaten two former title challenger where do think that puts with regard to a potential title shot?
JH: I’m really only focused on this next fight and don’t want to get ahead of myself but of course I want a shot at that belt. I’m 7-1 in the UFC with four KO’s and 9-1 with Zuffa so I’m ready to make a run for the title.
KO: Finally, as an experience Mixed Martial Artist what advice can you give young fighters looking to successfully break into the fight game.
JH: Trust your instincts, find the best coaches and trainers for all aspects of the game, be disciplined, and surround yourself with positive people.
With a 12-1 professional record, including 8 finishes (7 KO/TKO and 1 Sub) Johny Hendricks is a fighter on the rise. He reached the pinnacle of Collegiate competition and if his successful run early in his MMA career is any indication he is well on his way to an successful career in Mixed Martial Arts. As always Kamikazeoverdrive.net would like to thank Johny Hendricks for taking the time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions and we wish him the best of luck with his upcoming matchup.