clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Johny Hendricks glad to be done with MMA: ‘I’m feeling really good about my decision’

The former UFC welterweight champion officially hung up his gloves last month, and it doesn’t sound like he has any regrets about walking away from the sport in its current form.

UFC 207: Hendricks v Magny Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Over the past half decade the MMA game has changed for fighters in the UFC. A combination of institutional, and less definable social, pressures have pushed the culture of the sport in directions the UFC has long railed against. Whether it’s uniforms, drug testing, or just a Conor McGregor-led understanding of potential value, fighters have become more vocal about managing their match-ups in the Octagon and their long-term trajectory in the UFC.

And it’s all these things that sound like they have Johny Hendricks glad to be done with his MMA career. The former UFC welterweight champion announced that he had finished with the competitive portion of his career back in June. In a recent interview with Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show, he explained exactly why (transcript via MMA Mania).

“Sometimes it’s not even about how good a fighter you are, it’s about how good you learn to run your mouth,” Hendricks said. “I’m just a southern kid that likes to do something, That’s really the gist of it.

“Then you start throwing in this guy who is doing this, that guy who is doing this, and you know what, for me, it’s not the same sport I wanted to be involved with five or six years ago. It’s changing. I knew it would one day but I would’ve hoped it would be longer than that. Now that it has evolved into what it is, there are some people that are very good at what they do, run their mouth, and I can’t take nothing away from them because that’s the easiest part. So I ask myself, if I wanted to get back to where I was before, could I have done it without running my mouth?”

Hendricks also talked about being glad to be done with the strict weight management, something that plagued the last three years of his career.

“Realistically, I’m over it. I’m over the sport. I did my part and I can say I’m out of the MMA world and I don’t have to worry about something else happening,” Hendricks said.

“I’ve been thinking about it, should I give it another shot, should I not? And with that big question being taken away now I felt a lot of relief and I’m feeling really good about my decision. I still get to wake up, I train once a day, I’m still training wrestling, I’m still working out with guys. The only difference is, I don’t have somebody sitting here saying, ‘Oh, you’re walking around at 208 right now, you’re fat, you need to lose weight.’”

Hendricks won the 170lb championship back in 2014, in a fantastic fight with Robbie Lawler. He would go on to lose the rematch later that year, by split decision. Despite a win over Matt Brown to start 2015, a prolonged run of poor form followed, with Hendricks going 1-5 between 2016-17. Most recently he fought up and coming middleweight prospect Paulo Costa, losing that fight via KO in the second round.

That puts his career at 18-8 for the duration. But, in MMA there’s always room for a comeback.