One day into his three month long training camp, UFC welterweight number one contender, Johny Hendricks is ready to fill in the big shoes that Georges St Pierre and Anderson Silva have left empty.
In a matter of three weeks, the UFC lost their two biggest pay-per-view draws. In mid-December, Georges St Pierre vacated the welterweight title he has held since 2008 as he stepped away on an indefinite hiatus. Then just a few days ago, long-time middleweight king Anderson Silva suffered a gruesome leg injury that could have possibly ended his career.
With Jon Jones and Ronda Rousey being villains and not yet proving to be cash cows when it comes to pay-per-view numbers, there is a huge hole to be filled at the helm of the promotion.
Hendricks however is ready to take on that challenge.
“I want that pressure.” said Hendricks, “that’s the whole reason I fight, because I want everybody to try to beat me.”
That type of mentality Hendricks picked up early in his wrestling days at Oklahoma state where he was a four time all-American and a two time national champion.
“I want to be on top, and I want everyone to gun for me because that’s motivating.” said Hendricks.
In the past year we have heard both Silva and St Pierre talk about the immense pressure of being champion, not only in the cage but out as well. Hendricks feels like he has the recipe to avoid letting the pressure of being champion get to him.
“What I’ve learned from wrestling is that it’s not pressure, sometime you just have to get away,” said Hendricks about not letting the stress of being champ get to him. “If I start to feel pressure I’ll tell these guys, hey let’s (train) Friday morning then I’m going camping, shoot a hog, whatever, just get away from it all for a couple of days.”
It sounds like “Big Rigg” has the blue print for long term success as champion, but before he can put his plan in action; he has to get past knock out artist Robbie Lawler on March 15 at UFC 171 in Dallas, Texas.
Let me know in the comments below, who you think will be the new UFC welterweight champion.