STACK spoke with former UFC Welterweight Champion Johny Hendricks about what he’s doing differently with his training as he preps to fight Matt Brown on March 14 at UFC 185 in Dallas.
STACK: How are you training for this fight? Specifically, how are you preparing for Matt Brown?
Johny Hendricks: Matt Brown is a guy who likes to come forward, he likes to pressure, pressure, pressure. I hear he’s a tough guy, so I can’t wait to get in there. After the loss that I had, it’s time to put that behind me and show why I should have the belt and should get another title shot.
I know you don’t like to look too far ahead, but do you think you’ll get a title shot if you win this fight? You’re ranked No. 1 right now.
You know, I think they’ll give me Robbie Lawler. He wanted to wait, and I could have waited to take the fight, but I like being active. It could give me three fights this year, which would be great. That’s what I’m looking at. You can’t look too much, because there’s another fight that could match well, and that’s out of my control. I have to win first and foremost. Second, if I can go out there and win impressively, that can help me get to my belt.
What’s your game plan for the fight with Matt Brown? He’s pretty fearless and likes to pressure, so how are you preparing for that?
Bring guys in that will always walk forward, and a lot of people like to pressure, so you have to hit ’em. Now that I’m back to fighting orthodox, there’s some ways I can do that. The power thing. Lifting weights and getting my strength back will give me back some of my pop. I’ve been training for five-round fights, so I know if it comes down to three rounds I can go all out.
Were you laying off weight training a bit before your previous fights?
Yeah, because we were focused so much on technique. We sort of got away from what got me to where I’m at. You gotta bite on the mouthpiece and let your hands go. That’s what I want to get back to. Now this [fight] is a great opportunity for me to do that. We got a guy who’s going to be very tough, walk me down. It’s sort of a perfect scenario for a great fight.
You recently teamed up with Reebok, but they’ve also expanded to sponsor the whole UFC. What’s your relationship with them?
Yeah, I’m excited! I was the first one. Reebok and me have a great relationship, like a family. It makes them easy to represent and promote. I can’t wait to see what they can do with the sport, what they can do from here on out.
Is there any gear that you specifically like using?
I do use the ZQuick [shoes] a lot on turf. It doesn’t really feel like I’m wearing a shoe, and I can make the quick cuts I need to when training. My quick sprints are ZQuick. The ZJets are what I run long distance in and wear day in and day out. Reebok did change the way I trained.
Reebok has their “Be More Human” campaign. Getting back to basics—flipping tires, climbing ropes. What training do you do that mimics that kind of stuff?
Pretty much every Tuesday (laughs). Flipping tires, throwing stones, throwing medicine balls, doing a lot of rope work. What I like about the campaign is it’s going back to what people used to do. You didn’t used to need a weight room to build your body up the way that you should. You’re going back to the old style of training. You can find an old tire anywhere. When I work my land, I just load 100-plus pounds into a trailer. There’s so much you can do.
Do you favor that over the other days or do you also like lifting weights?
You gotta have both, for me. You have to do a lot of workouts for agility, but you need the raw power of the gym. Max lifts. But you can do tire flips or moving stones or climbing rope [for a full-body exercise], and when you have that type of move you use your whole body. That transfers very well to MMA.
Are you changing anything with your nutrition right now?
Right now we’re still doing it Dolce style. I walk around at 195 [pounds], and I’ve been trying to stay there for awhile—since my last fight. Trying to do Dolce eating, but mixing it up with my own personal style. There’s only so much I can eat of regular chicken every day. I add a little bit of flavor here and there. My wife has been enjoying it, and she has found some pretty sweet recipes that we love. It’s nice to be in shape 24/7.
Check out more training secrets from Johny Hendricks.