Photo by Jim Cowsert
At UFC 167, Johny Hendricks came within a few points on the judges’ scorecards of securing the Welterweight Championship against Georges St-Pierre. With GSP vacating the title after their fight, Hendricks was given another chance to get back in the ring to fight for the belt—this time against Robbie Lawler. STACK recently spoke with Hendricks about his training, his thoughts about the GSP match, and how he’s preparing for the biggest fight of his career.
STACK: How are you preparing for Robbie Lawler?
Hendricks: Realistically, same as always. Once I figure out what they’re good at, I figure out how to stop it. What do I have to do to capitalize on his weakness, and when I get that strategy down, I work on that so it’s second nature.
STACK: Regarding your fight with GSP, what’s your mindset now after getting so close, and currently preparing for another battle for the title?
Hendricks: I’m trying to act like it’s the opposite [outcome]. I can’t worry about what happened, I have to move forward and stay strong. Certain things should have gone differently, but they didn’t, so we have to make sure that doesn’t happen again.
STACK: What’s your strategy for making sure there’s no questions asked at the end of this fight?
Hendricks: Capitalize on everything. There’s a couple times I capitalized on GSP but I let off. Make sure it’s even more one-sided than it was before. That’s what I’ve learned from that fight, and just to leave it all in the octagon and see what happens.
STACK: How do you feel fighting close to your camp in front of a hometown crowd?
Hendricks: I like it. It doesn’t add any pressure, it just adds familiarity, and it’s comfortable. I can’t wait.
STACK: How has Reebok supported you and MMA in general as a sponsor?
Hendricks: Reebok is built like a family-based organization. They’ve backed me up like I back up my team. They’ve gotten back to me as soon as I need any gear, and it’s just like my gloves or shin pads. I run 4 to 5 miles a day, and sometimes farther. Having the Reebok ZQuick on makes it easier; they’re light. Eighty-five percent of my training is without shoes, so when I’m doing my drills, it feels like I’m still barefoot.
STACK: Finally, how are you feeling this close to the fight? What’s going through your head?
Hendricks: Physically I feel great. Adrian [Ramirez] has my cardio there, my strength. My hands, kicks and knees are where they need to be. Mark [Laimon] has my jiu jitsu where it needs to be. Mike Dolce has my weight where it needs to be. I don’t need to worry about anything, I lay it in their hands. They know when I’m ready or need to take a break. I give it all to my coaches, so that way I can focus on one thing—so I’m prepared mentally stepping into the fight, because there’s only a couple things you can control. Everything else is adapted on the fly.
Johny Hendricks’ Pre-UFC 171 Workout
Here are some of the drills Hendricks is using to train for his fight with Robbie Lawler:
- Sled Pulls: Place weight on a sled, put a rope around the sled, attach it to your waist and pull it back or move it forward for 10-20 yards.
- Power Sprints: Hendricks wears a 15-20-pound weighted vest.
- Agility Ladder Drills
- Box Jumps
- Suicide Drill
- Fit Light Drill: Fit Lights wirelessly turn on/off via a sensor. Place cones about eight feet apart 5 yards away from you. Run to the cone that has a lit Fit Light and tap it or wave your hand over it to turn it off. Return to the starting position, then run and touch the next cone that lights up. Each round is 45 seconds. Do at least two rounds
Check out more of Hendricks’ training here, captured during STACK’s visit with him before his last title fight with Georges St-Pierre.