Johny Hendricks wants his belt back. The native Oklahoman engaged in two close battles with Robbie Lawler in 2014, winning the first but dropping the second and relinquishing his UFC welterweight title to him in the process. Hendricks is a massive welterweight, and has dealt with some insane 40 plus-pound cuts to make 170 in the past. He even admitted that his huge cut might have made the difference in the second Lawler fight. This led to some speculation that Hendricks might have to move to middleweight, but that doesn't look likely any time soon.
"It was a thought process. It was. Did I want to change my lifestyle, or did I want to just move up to 185? 185 is a tough weight class. I'd be the shortest guy in there. I think I hit as hard as they do, I'm probably as strong as most of those guys in there. But I want to be champion."
At the open workouts on Wednesday (by way of Shaun Al-Shatti of MMA Fighting), Hendricks stated that he was at 181 pounds two days before the weigh-in. That's a big deal for a man that had to use Mike Dolce to cut weight in the past, but chose not to employ his services for this bout. He said the rationale behind the decision fell back on one person - himself:
I sort of pulled back and said, ‘Hey, if we're going to start pointing fingers at anybody, I want it to be on me."
"I'm the guy that, when it's the offseason, I want to have fun, I want to get away. But I don't have that luxury. I only have so long I can fight for, right? Do I want to look back and say I lived my life fun, but I could've accomplished so much more in the three or four years, whatever I got left? Would I rather say, ‘hey, I got to where I want to be, I'm satisfied with that, I'll be comfortable with that?' No. I want to be the champion. I want to remain the champion. And I'd like to go out as being the champion.
"That's why I'm making this change and hopefully it works. I believe it's going to work. I feel like I'm back in college. I'm busting my butt everyday because I have something that I want. It got taken away from me, and I don't want that to happen again."