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UFC 207: Johny Hendricks talks disappointment in his fights, retirement & exit strategy

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In an interview with Bloody Elbow’s Three Amigos Podcast, Johny Hendricks talks retirement, exit strategies and disappointing fights

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MMA: UFC 207-Weigh In Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

UFC 207 is just hours away and the lead-up to the night’s fight festivities has been all over the place. Between Ronda Rousey’s media blackout, the Cruz/Garbrandt squabble, Garbrandt/Stephens scuffle and Johny Hendricks’ strangely aggressive media scrum, there’s a never ending stream of “out there” content to get your fill of “That’s so MMA” type stories.

Of those stories that hold particular interest, mainly because it seems born of dehydration, is Johny Hendricks’ unusual behavior. Normally a very cordial and collected person, he appeared edgy and agitated on Wednesday during a media appearance.

At the beginning of this month, the Three Amigos Podcast interviewed Johny about his comments on retirement, his many battles, exit strategies and more over the span of about half an hour. Here are a few excerpts from the interview:

Why he didn’t go to AKA for this camp

“I haven’t because I’ve been traveling to Oklahoma State. I want to get out there, I do, and I plan on going out there at some point because DC and Cain and all those guys have been so great to me. It’s nice to know that I have a place to go.

I want to get out there and try it out, it’s just that right now, it’s been tough for me to even get to Oklahoma State. If something happens…like I said, my family is more important than anything, and I’d hate to be in California, y’know, since I have a young one. If my wife needs help, I can always leave Oklahoma State and be home in four hours. If I’m in California, it’s gonna be a little harder.”

Retirement Talk

“You’ve got to think about the fact that I wrestled for 24 years of my life. That could really be playing a factor here. Also, having four kids. Y’know, I want to be around. Right now, I’m at a soccer game getting ready to watch my daughter play soccer. If I was at AKA or anywhere else, I wouldn’t get to see this.

My wife needs help doing this. Right now, we’ve got three kids running everywhere out here and a new baby. I understand that. She’s a stay at home mom, but it’s rough. It’s hard. Right? Her job is very hard, so if I can help out any way I can, that’s what I want to do. There’s other things I can do.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not thinking retirement at this very point right now. I’m thinking win this fight, and then we’re gonna sit down and we’re gonna talk. ‘Hey, how did it go? Was it good? Are you happy with it? Are you happy with what could happen? Right? Are you okay with me leaving even more for the next fight?’

If we’re going to continue, I want to get out to AKA. She’s already experienced me leaving with four kids whenever I‘m gone for a whole week or maybe two weeks. Is she able to do that? This is sort of that phase. That’s sort of what we, as a family, had to come up with.”

*A little later in the interview*

“There’s always retirement, right? There’s always gonna be somebody else. There’s always gonna be another person there, and whenever it happens, I will make sure that…I know I’ll miss the sport, as well. I need to get out there and prove that I still want to be here.

I see it time and time again with athletes in that we don’t know when to stop. What do I do every day? I wake up, I run, I work out, I push myself to the limit—every day. I don’t know when my body is gonna say, ‘Stop.’ Even though our bodies might want to stop, we still want to push it further. That’s why I say I don’t want to be one of those guys that push it so far, that I can never come back from it.”

Thoughts on his many battles in the Octagon

“You know I have [been in some wars], but I’m lucky enough to not have taken very much punishment. Y’know what I mean? Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been hit, but the way that I move my head, I haven’t taken a lot of punishment. You’re right, I do want to remember my kids’ childhood. I do want to remember their name whenever I get older. Right?

As an athlete, I can’t think of that at this moment. That’s something where if my wife says, ‘Johny, you’re starting to lose your head,’ then yes, I’ll be like, ‘Okay, you know me best.’ We’ll battle that when we get there, but as of right now, I’m sort of just relaxing, y’know. I’m enjoying the sport that I do love. That’s the thing, I do enjoy it, but what I need to do, is I need to get refocused and recapture…how do you do that?

Winning is fun for me; losing, not so much. I don’t want to be doing all this training and put on a performance like I have in the past, and think it’s okay. That’s really what this all boils down to. It’s that I’m disappointed in my fights. They’re so, y’know, they’re so bad for me, that I can’t even…I haven’t even watched ‘em because I’m harder on myself about that.”

Exit Strategy

“Y’know what, I don’t [have an exit strategy]. Y’know what got me into MMA? I prayed about it for two weeks, and the good Lord got me into MMA. That’s sort of the way that I’m gonna go with this, as well. I don’t want to start thinking about Plan B, because if I start thinking that way, then I might as well retire today.”

This is just a small portion of the interview. You can listen to it in full at the 1:03:25 mark of the audio or via the embedded player below. Remember, if you're looking for us on SoundCloud or iTunes, we're under the MMA Nation name. Follow our Twitter accounts: Stephie Haynes, Three Amigos Podcast, George Lockhart, Iain Kiddand Mookie Alexander or our Facebook fan page, Three Amigos Pod.