Steven Wright is enjoying Johny Hendricks’ run through the UFC welterweight division.
The Team Takedown striking coach has been working with Hendricks for his last four wins, which include two violent knockouts.
“I’m a big fan of guys fighting in front of each other,” Wright told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show. “Not back and forth -- I don’t like the playing tag, I’ll hit you and then you hit me. I don’t like that game. I think that guys who are the best in the world on the feet, your Jose Aldos, your Anderson Silvas, those guys are comfortable standing right in front of someone. I believe that that’s something you can teach, and Johny Hendricks is really, really, really good at picking stuff up like that. Plus, he’s a phenomenal fast-twitch athlete with just natural power that you can’t teach.”
Most recently Hendricks knocked out Martin Kampmann in 46 seconds on Nov. 17. The finish came via a straight left that followed a lead right from the southpaw Hendricks.
“When you look at some of the other southpaws that [Kampmann has] fought, when you look at [Rick] Story and we looked at [Diego] Sanchez, outside-in was going to be the best way to get to him,” Wright said. “We wanted to definitely go right hand leads because he’s a big counter right hand guy. We were going to right hand leads and try to go down the middle after that. We held pads for it a lot. We focused on starting all of our combinations outside-in, but when the lights turn on, it’s all Johny in there.”
Wright praised Hendricks’ patience and also his ability to see an opening.
“In the beginning he thought that he had the opportunity and he wanted to let that left hand go, but he could see that Kampmann was moving out of range, so he slowed it down,” Wright said. “Kampmann hadn’t got quite comfortable himself because he likes to pick up on your speed. That’s when the right hand comes. All counter fighters need to pick up on your speed, but Johny closed the gap really quick. Right hand outside and then the left hand down the middle, and he was able to score another big knockout.”
In victory, Hendricks added to an already strong resume. Whether he’ll get a shot next at welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre, though, could depend on whether GSP is going to fight Anderson Silva first.
“Clearly, after the resume that we’ve put together, we definitely want GSP,” Wright said.
The trainer was watching St. Pierre’s win over Carlos Condit at UFC 154 . He came away impressed particularly with GSP’s ability to recover from a head kick that nearly finished him.
“For GSP to overcome that moment, the moment he wasn’t able to overcome against [Matt] Serra, it speaks volumes to me on how skilled this guy is,” Wright said. “That’s why we that much more want to fight him because we want to go against that level.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:36:18).