Johny Hendricks has not had a good time of late.
Since losing his UFC welterweight title back in December 2014, "Bigg Rigg" has suffered three defeats in his last four fights and also had the embarrassment of one canceled bout and two missed weight cuts. Shortly after his last loss to Neil Magny at UFC 207, Hendricks announced he'd be moving to middleweight, and he makes his 185-pound debut this weekend against Hector Lombard at UFC Fight Night 105.
Suffice to say, not having to make welterweight is a load off his mind, and Hendricks says he now feels invigorated heading into his bout this Sunday evening in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
"Here's the thing, I'm killing my body to make 170," Hendricks admitted on the UFC Unfiltered podcast. "And, you know what? If I'm going to lose by the judges, why not do it at [185 and] enjoy fighting again? I've been talking about going to '85 for a year, year and a half? I wanted to go, but I really thought I could get back to the welterweight title. But, well, first of all, you got to make weight. Second of all, well, you got this thing that you do--you turn it in, but you always fail and you can't get back to where your regular pay is. You know what I'm saying? That's the best way I can explain it.
"So now it got to where I got tired of trying to figure out, what I need to do and how I can win, and I started thinking about way too much. Now at '85, you know, I think I'm 13 over right now eating and drinking everything I want. I'm enjoying life again and enjoying training. I'm training twice a day."
The IV ban made making 170 tougher
Having been making the welterweight limit since the start of his professional MMA career in 2007, Hendricks has dealt with his fair share of tough weight cuts. He pointed at the IV ban that was implemented last July as the real tipping point for him when making welterweight became a real struggle.
"Like I said, yes, cutting weight, people, the average fan doesn't understand it, and obviously, people on Twitter don't understand," Hendricks said. "Here's the thing, look, the IV ban, and you ask anybody, I ask anybody to do this, go run yourself, go workout really hard one day. I don't care if you've worked out before in your life--go workout and then right afterwards, go get yourself an IV and oh my gosh you are going to feel like you didn't workout yesterday.
"I get why we don't need IVs and I get it that a lot of people cutting a lot of weight like me are having a hard time with it, that smarter we fight closer to natural weight. For me, that's 185 so that's what I'm doing. Even right now I feel like I have the power to hit hard and I have the endurance to do that. I'm hoping to see this fight that I can go out there and not care. I'm just going to be, that's my goal--to be like I used to be. I want to go out there, throw heavy haymakers and see what happens.
"Making '70 isn't fun--it was never fun," Hendricks continued. "It took a toll on me mentally and physically to where I was like, 'I'm not enjoying this, fighting isn't fun.' But, I knew that I needed to do that, but there was a part of me that knew I needed to go to '85 once that new IV ban came in.
Food isn't the problem
In the past, Hendricks has spoken about his love of junk food and how outside of camp he does not maintain a strict diet. The former UFC welterweight champion disputed he'd ever cheated on his diet while training for a fight, and he again pointed at his lack of ability to use an IV that led to his difficulty with making weight.
"After I missed by that quarter of a pound, I was like, 'Oh my gosh--a quarter of a pound? You missed weight by a quarter of a pound,' I don't want that to happen again," Hendricks said. "So, no I wasn't cheating on food.
"Look, here's the thing. For example, when you go to [Oklahoma State University], I can lose, I'll lose 10 pounds of true weight in three days and I'm going to lose 10 pounds every day. So, I tried to use that to my advantage, and what I did was when I went up there I think I cut like, I think I lost like 23 pounds in two days, and once I did that I was drinking water and doing everything I needed to do, but my body never replenished itself. It never felt like I got back what I lost.
"You know what? In MMA you might lose three, maybe four pounds a practice--at most. When you are doing that two times a day you might lose eight pounds, maybe nine pounds if you push it right. In two hours wrestling practice, you're going to lose 10 pounds."
Making 185 on Friday
Speaking about his preparations for this weekend and how they have changed now that he just has to make 185, Hendricks implied that he had it all worked out and that making the middleweight limit in Halifax would be no problem.
"Yeah, yeah, I'm 198, and my goal tomorrow is to hit 90," Hendricks said. "I'm going to show up on Wednesday, that's my goal, to show up at 190 so I can still work out, I can still do what I need to do and just have to worry about five pounds. I think that's going to make it easier on me as well."