Johny Hendricks erupts about his frustrations dealing with the media
In the months leading up to his bout at UFC 207 against Neil Magny, Johny Hendricks mentioned that a loss might lead him to retirement just four fights removed from being welterweight champion.
With a 1-3 record over his past four fights including back-to-back defeats to Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson and Kelvin Gastelum, Hendricks’ frustration with his lack of success was understandable, but it turns out his idea to retire was also a direct shot aimed at the media.
According to Hendricks, constantly being asked questions about what was next rather than focusing directly on the fight in front of him caused such a distraction that it actually helped lead to his recent struggles.
“I want the press to not start shooting me past my fights. I get so caught up in what’s next, this, this, this and this, and it sort of ruined me,” Hendricks told FOX Sports on Wednesday. “It sort of got me to where I wasn’t focused on the fight I needed right now.
“That’s why I said retirement. Cause guess what? Now you guys can’t ask me what’s next. You’ve got to be there Saturday and you’ve got to call me on Saturday and say ‘hey are you still going to fight or not?’. Then we can talk about what’s next.”
Hendricks believes that if he didn’t mention the possibility of retirement after UFC 207 that he would face the same litany of questions about what comes next following his fight with Magny on Friday night.
Instead, Hendricks changed the narrative by saying that he was contemplating retirement so the only thing anybody could focus on was the fight directly in front of him.
“I’m just tired of people asking 30,000 questions that don’t revolve around my fight. That’s why. Here’s the thing, if I didn’t mention retirement what would you all be doing right now? You’d all be saying well what about GSP or what about this person or what about this person? I’m done with those questions. What if’s — I’m done with what if’s,” Hendricks said.
“I started coaching wrestling again and it made me realize who cares about what if’s. That’s not in my control. Dec. 30 is in my control. Neil Magny is in my control. Nothing else is.”
As angry as Hendricks might be about the media, he’s also fed up with his own poor performances and that certainly played a part in the possibility of walking away after his next fight.
At his best, Hendricks was a welterweight juggernaut winning six fights in a row before dropping a close, controversial decision to Georges St-Pierre at UFC 167 prior to returning four months later to win the title at 170 pounds.
Dropping his last two fights in a row while not putting on good performances either time put Hendricks in a place where he may not compete again if that’s all he can give when stepping into the Octagon.
“My last two fights were crap. I know they were crap and if I’m going to fight like that I might as well retire,” Hendricks said. “There’s no reason to be involved in the sport if I’m not going to fight to my best ability. But you all don’t get that. Fans and reporters they don’t get that ever since I was five, all I’ve done is competed against something. I always had a goal. Then whenever you hit a point, there’s a point in an athlete’s life where it’s like is it still worth it? We don’t know. I don’t know.
“It could be this fight. My wife could be like ‘Johny, you know what that wasn’t so bad we could do another one’. Could be the fact that my wife goes ‘you know what that sucked, Christmas sucked, New Year’s sucked, everything sucked, and you went out there even though you won, I just didn’t like you being gone’. Guess what? My wife and kids mean more than the belt or UFC or anything else to me. So that’s really where I’m at now. I’m really leaning to what my wife wants.”
The good news is Hendricks says his preparation for UFC 207 was just like the old days when he hated life everyday after leaving the gym for a hard training session.
For Hendricks, a punishing, tough training camp where he can’t give another inch is exactly what he needed to truly get ready for Magny on Friday night.
“It’s been a crappy camp. I haven’t had one of those in a long time so I’m sort of excited to say I had a really crappy camp,” Hendricks said. “It was a hard camp, it sucked, I don’t want to do another one.
“That means I’m ready for this fight.”
Hendricks faces Magny in the featured prelim on FS1 this Friday night with the action kicking off live at 8 p.m. ET.