This Saturday night, Johny Hendricks will get the chance to prove to his doubters that “Bigg Rigg” is still a legitimate contender in the welterweight division.
Hendricks takes on Stephen Thompson in the main event of UFC Fight Night 82 from Las Vegas. The card airs live on FOX Sports 1.
Last year, the former UFC welterweight champion was scheduled for a title-eliminator with Tyron Woodley. However, as he attempted to cut down to at least 171 pounds, Hendricks’ body shut down on him. Officials stated that he would be forced to move up to middleweight, but after several conversations – and the hiring of a nutritionist – Hendricks was allowed to remain.
“I feel great,” he said, during a recent interview on UFC Tonight. “I did a slow cut. I woke up three pounds over (Wednesday) and I’m still training like I’d be at home.”
The 32-year-old former NCAA wrestling standout at Oklahoma State earned a win last March over Matt Brown, getting him back on track following a split decision defeat to Robbie Lawler that cost him the belt. After winning 15 of his first 16 fights, Hendricks is just 2-2 over his last four – with the other loss being a split decision defeat in 2013 to Georges St-Pierre.
While he hasn’t earned a finish since 2012 when he knocked out Martin Kampmann, Hendricks believes that could be in store for “Wonderboy.”
“I don’t want to take it to a decision,” he said. “I promise you, it’s not going to a decision. My power is back. My cardio is awesome. My strength is there.
“It’s a new Johny. On Saturday, everyone is going to see what a new Johny can do.”