The former UFC welterweight champion maintains that he has no trouble making 185 lbs, but that a last minute illness threw off his latest weight cut attempt.
When Johny Hendricks stepped on the scale at UFC Oklahoma City on June 25th, even he seemed exasperated. Hendricks put his head in his hands as the numbers were read out, the former career welterweight (and former UFC champion) had missed weight again. But he wasn’t nudging the line at 170lbs like he had against Kelvin Gastelum and Neil Magny, this time he was over the middleweight limit.
Johny Hendricks hit the scales at 188 lbs for his fight with Tim Boetsch, a man 3 inches taller than him, who has spent his career bouncing between light heavyweight and middleweight. For many, that was a sign that Hendricks had reached his nadir, that he had checked out from the kind of dedication that had made him a championship talent in the first place.
But if that’s fan sentiment, it’s a stance that Hendrick vehemently denies. Instead, ‘Bigg Rigg’ tells Sub Radio that a simple fight week illness was to blame for his bad weight cut, nothing more.
“I felt like I was moving forward. That second round I really felt like I got his timing down. But you know, it really started the time before that,” Hendricks said, speaking of his fight with Boetsch and where things went wrong, “because like Wednesday something happened and I started running a fever. Thursday, Friday I’m just trying, you know what I mean? I’m like, I’m sitting there going (laughs), ‘Oh my gosh,’ cause what’s crazy is – you know, it’s funny because I love fans, but then again I think they’re the most ill-informed people. And the reason why I say that is because, you know, perfect example, if y’all are feeling sick, what are you gonna do?
“If you are sick, what do you get to do? You get to sort of take a day off, you know what I’m saying? Where it sucks that – cause my family was going through sickness for like three weeks prior to the fight. And I left and I was like, I didn’t get it. I was super excited. I was like, awesome, you know, nothing’s going on. But as soon as you start cutting weight – cause I showed up and I think I was 13 (pounds) over when I showed up. And I drank ten pounds of fluid that day, and the next minute *cuts out*. At that point you’re fighting not only the weight but also the body.
“And I got to where it just, it just sucks because 185’s not that hard to make, but whenever you’re sick, it is. You know, your body’s just not gonna give up anything. And the next thing you know, you’re trying to turn it right around in 48 hours in the fight of your life.”
As for just how sick he was? Hendricks says he was running a fever of 102 for two days.
“You know what, it was just, you’re running like 102 temperature for two days and you’re playing it that way,” Hendricks explains. “You know, you’re running a high temperature, you’re trying to do everything you can, you’re not trying to kill fluids but you’re trying to keep your fluids up a little but so that way you could fight it. And I pretty much just told the commission, I was like, ‘Guys, I have to fight this fight.’ And then it broke on late, late Friday, I think like one or two o’clock in the morning. And whenever it sort of broke we tried to hit hard to get that last little bit off, but at that point my body was just saying, ‘Hey, where just trying to survive at this point,’ you know what I mean?
“And like I said, it’s not that hard to make 185. And that’s what I think is so funny, these people, they’re like, ‘Oh, he missed weight again. Oh, he did this.’ Well you know what? You have no idea. You have no idea. Anytime you get sick you got to a hospital. What do they do? They put you in an IV and they hydrate you up. Why? Cause fluid helps you fight the sickness. So that’s really what I’ve been trying to do, is I was trying not to put on a lot of weight, but also I was trying to get – you know, because if I don’t break that sickness then what do I do? Then I don’t get to fight. Then you just wasted literally ten weeks of camp for nothing.
“And so you’re in a catch twenty two,” Hendricks continued. “Do you sit there and say, you know what – I think I was three over – and whenever I was three over, your body is not breaking it and so what do you do? Do you just sit there and say, hopefully I can? Cause guess what, they’re gonna look at ya, they’re gonna see that you’re not doing well, they’re gonna check your body temperature, all that kind of stuff. So there’s a lot of things that were playing in my head. Cause I’m sitting going, I really wanted to fight.
“That’s all I thought about, I wanted to fight. But we also thought that if we can break the sweat or break the temperature, we could get down. And it just didn’t happen that way, which sucks. It does, but you know, we got on, it is what it is. Other than that, I don’t know what else to say besides the fact that you train so hard, you do all these things and all of a sudden it comes down to literally two days of being sick that messes up a great camp.”
He also spoke about how negative fan feedback affected him, especially his feelings that fans won’t put any stock in his illness as the reason for his poor weight cut. He specifically pointed out comments from Mike Dolce and Kenny Florian, telling the UFC color commentator, “And then you got people like Kenny Florian saying, ‘Oh, he’s just there for a pay check,’ you know what I’m saying? And you’re going, Kenny, you’re an idiot, because wasn’t I forcing the pace the whole fight? Now, wouldn’t a pay check just be over in like 20 seconds in MMA? Does that make sense?”
No matter the reason for his trouble in the fight and the days leading up to it, Hendricks’ loss to Boetsch puts him at 3-6 since his first title shot against Georges St-Pierre back in 2013. Hendricks was coming off a win at middleweight over Hector Lombard at UFC Halifax, back in February. The win broke a three-fight losing skid for the former champion. No word yet on when Hendricks plans to return, but from what he told Sub Radio it seems as though he could be ready to go again soon.