When Rory MacDonald withdrew from his March 16 rematch with Carlos Condit due to an injury, Johny Hendricks was happy to step in.
Ahead of the UFC 158 welterweight matchup, Hendricks joined the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show to discuss Condit, title shots and more.
On fighting Condit and possibly earning a title shot: “First off, I didn’t know I was going to be switching opponents. My manager and my coaches made that decision for me, which that’s what I wanted. But with the switch, Carlos Condit’s just coming off having the interim belt, fighting GSP, and if I can get a win against him, that should overlook anybody else in the division. It should make it to where there can’t be anybody else.”
On taking the fight: “When a big opportunity comes to fight somebody like Carlos Condit, win or lose, I want to make sure I’m trying to put myself out there as much as possible and do the best I can. Because my whole thought process is that I don’t have to go out there and destroy people. That’s not my thought process at all whenever I go into a fight. My thought process is that everybody’s going to be 100-percent hard to fight.”
On making a statement against Condit: “The thing is, he’s just coming off the GSP loss. That’s still fresh in everybody’s mind. If I can do something that GSP couldn’t, no matter what it is, then that should also show I’m ready for the next step.”
On learning how title shots work and who gets them: “You start to look at how you have to get that title shot. What do you have to do? You have to get your name out there. You have to be doing this, you have to do this, and one thing I’ve learned is the more high-profile fights you do and the better your popularity grows, the more people want to see you do a title shot. Carlos Condit, he’s a great fighter. He’s coming off a title shot, and if I get a win, that’s going to boost my stock up to get the title shot and hopefully solidify it.”
On the role of being popular: “One thing I’ve realized is that winning is a big part of it but also having that backing. Just having that support behind you where, why did Nick Diaz get this fight [against St. Pierre at UFC 158]? It’s not because his record in the UFC is better than mine. It’s because people want to see that fight, right? If I understand that, now I’ve go to say, ‘OK, well, how do I get people wanting to see me fight GSP?’ Maybe I’ve got to take a chance, fight Carlos Condit? If I get a win, people are like, ‘Wait a minute, Carlos Condit just got beat by GSP. He’s fighting Johny Hendricks.’ That’s still fresh in their mind. If I beat Carlos Condit, however it may be, then they’re like, ‘Oh, he deserves that.’ That’s one thing I’ve noticed.”
On Jon Fitch getting cut: “There’s a couple of things I think. I don’t know what Jon Fitch and the UFC’s relationship is. That’s one thing. Have a good relationship with your employer. Second, you’ve got to go out there and fight your heart out every fight. That’s probably the best thing I learned because I was shocked. We all were. I found out about it whenever I was training today and we were like, ‘Whoa.’ They’re trying to clean up the division and probably let some new people in. It makes you think, ‘OK, I know how Jon Fitch fights. I can’t fight that way. Is that what got him fired?’ You start thinking, ‘What got him fired?’ And you try not to make the same mistake.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:33:40).