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Tyron Woodley: Johny Hendricks is 'like a big f*cking baby'

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Tyron Woodley shares his thoughts on training and upcoming opponent Johny Hendricks in an exclusive interview with Connor Ruebusch and Patrick Wyman of Heavy Hands.

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(Editor's note: This interview was recorded and written up before Woodley vs. Hendricks was cancelled)

This is part two of an extended interview with UFC welterweight Tyron Woodley for Heavy Hands, the only podcast dedicated to the finer points of face-punching. Part one can be found here, and the full audio of this interview can be found on the episode page here.

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We've seen you improve a lot as a counter fighter lately. You said in your fight with Rory MacDonald that there were a lot of things going on outside the ring, such as having your shot at number one contendership taken away, but it seemed that despite solid defense--

Rory just went out there and had a gameplan.

Yeah.

[Fighting Rory MacDonald] was more like a bad dream. I was wanting to punch and didn't punch, I wanted to . . . you know what I mean? Wanted to do something and I didn't, but he really didn't hit me that much. He just kept me contained.-UFC welterweight, Tyron Woodley

I'll tell you what the difference was in that fight. I was prepared for Rory. Nothing Rory did surprised me. I was in phenomenal shape. I was mentally wired. I had great sparring. You know how you have that last Saturday sparring, and you know you're ready, and you finish on top? I had that moment. And there are fights that I fought that my last session was terrible, like, "Fuck, I'm gonna go out there and get whooped . . ."

I had everything going. And then I get to Canada, fight week. I'm doing all these interviews. Embedded, the Insider, the Countdown . . . the fucking Meltdown--any show you could think of I was doing, and I was just too focused on what was going to happen after I beat him. And I think that was a mistake.

And then, that Monday, [Dana] basically said, "Hey Tyron, the winner of [Robbie Lawler vs Matt Brown] is gonna get the number one contendership spot." I'm like, "Hmm. How does that work?" And it was just like the fight didn't have the same spirit that it had when I originally agreed to it. I agreed to go to frickin' Vancouver to fight this kid in his hometown with the implication that the winner was fighting for the world title. That's a big risk.

And I took that after I had just fought Carlos [Condit]. I took that fight pretty quickly. And you know . . . the sport changes, and it evolves. Performances come on and fans want to see a different fight, and as you saw [Lawler vs Hendricks] was a good fight, so they probably made the right choice.

But mentally, I just gotta focus on Johny. Not what's next, not who's after that, just focus on him. Focus on doing the best I can and that's all I need to do, so . . . that fight was more like a bad dream. I was wanting to punch and didn't punch, I wanted to . . . you know what I mean? Wanted to do something and I didn't, but he really didn't hit me that much. He just kept me contained.

He told me afterwards, "I was just so surprised. We expected the animal that we trained for," and they were nervous about the fight. And if you remember Joe Rogan said, "Hey did you think it was gonna go like that?" And he said, "Yeah, in a perfect world. I'm just really shocked. I'm really surprised."

So, he . . . Merry Christmas to him. It'll never happen again. Get in front of me again, it's going down. I owe you one.

Looking ahead to Johny Hendricks, how familiar are you with his game? You were both wrestling in the Big Twelve around the same time, weren't you?

[Hendricks] was crying and whining about how I bit his finger because he decided to put three fingers in my mouth. I lost the fight, basically, because of that--no, not fight. I wanted it to be a fight, but it was a wrestling match.-ATTRIBUTION HERE

You know I wrestled that little chubby thing. I wrestled him in the Big Twelve finals. Lost a close match to him. That was kinda my spin to get this fight, was that he was crying and whining about how I bit his finger because he decided to put three fingers in my mouth. And you know, I got a penalty point. I lost the fight, basically, because of that--no, not fight. I wanted it to be a fight, but it was a wrestling match. So I lost the wrestling match because of that.

And you know about collegiate wrestling, how tough the Big Twelve conference is. Out of those five schools that make up the Big Twelve, at one point those five schools were in the top seven out of the country. That's a big deal to be a Big Twelve champion. So I was on my way to winning my second Big Twelve title and that happened, and I was just mad. I wanted to punch him. And it's just been a lot of years of build up, so I finally get a chance to do it and it won't even be illegal.

It's funny. Having interviewed Johny's coaches and everything, outside of competition people seem to like Johny.

I like Johny.

But anybody who's competed against Johny . . . he seems to get on people. He seems to inspire a lot of real dislike as a competitor.

Well, it's funny because as a competitor he's always a whiner. I'm not even joking. He's like a big fucking baby. All the time. So it's like, he complains, he whines, and in wrestling he always got the referees to be on his side and make calls for him.

But he never needed to. Johny is one of the best competitors I've ever seen in my life. He would never go undefeated during the year, but as NCAAs when it counted he would step up. He would step up big, not only for himself but winning national titles for his team. Same thing in MMA. You know, just think about him when he was in the WEC. He was alright, but then all of a sudden he starts knocking out [Jon] Fitch and knocking out [Martin] Kampmann, and beating Carlos Condit, and having a razor-thin match with GSP. He's a competitor.

[Johny] complains, he whines, and in wrestling he always got the referees to be on his side and make calls for him. But he never needed to. Johny is one of the best competitors I've ever seen in my life.-UFC welterweight, Tyron Woodley

So you know, I made a big order. And I better be hungry because there's a lot on that plate. I didn't ask to fight him because he's some pushover, or some bump off the log. This dude is for real. And he's got the same threat we talked about earlier. He's got the left hand that, if you get caught slipping, get caught waiting or clocking out, he will put you out.

He is a good guy, man. You know, we talked for like an hour in Vegas. I'm over that damn wrestling thing but I needed something to make the damn fans wanna see this fight happen. So I just had to dig in there and use it.

We've talked a lot about the improvements you've made over your career, and how you've become such a willing striker and such a potent knockout artist. Are there any hints or clues you can give us as to techniques you're working on that we'll see in your fight with Hendricks?

Yeah, I'm just gonna put it all together. The fights you've seen of me where you see a lot of wrestling, you didn't see a lot of striking; fights where you see a lot of striking you didn't see a lot of wrestling. The last fight, you saw a lot of footwork and angles and counters, but you didn't see a lot of offensive volume. So the goal is to kind of strategically put those things together.

If you wanna go way, way back and you look at my first five fights, I finished everybody by submission in the first minute of the fight. So I think I have a nice little grasp of defense and it's just . . . now it's about being that veteran. And I think that's what the veteran does. They put it all together. They bounce back if they get hit hard in the fight, or they get out of the submission if they get put in one. They're always looking to win the fight, and that's my focus for this camp.

I'm already at a good starting point, conditioning-wise. I know he's gonna be trying to cut the weight, so it makes sense that I'm gonna wear him down and, you know, make it a good fight.

We're looking forward to seeing it. Thanks so much for joining us Tyron, it was a pleasure.

No problem, thanks for having me on.

For the full audio of this interview, just head over the Heavy Hands podcast episode page.