If you ask Team Takedown founder Ted Ehrhardt when he first figured out that Johny Hendricks had serious power in his left hand, he’ll tell you it was an arcade-style punch machine that convinced him.
This was before Hendricks (15-1 MMA, 10-1 UFC) cold-clocked Jon Fitch in 12 seconds and then ran around the cage looking like even he couldn’t believe what had just happened. It was before he dropped Martin Kampmann in the exact same fashion, and long before he won the right to face UFC welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre (24-2 MMA, 18-2 UFC) on Saturday at UFC 167 in Las Vegas.
It was back when Hendricks was still fairly new to the UFC and the sport of MMA. He and Ehrhardt had gone to London for a UFC expo, and after the autograph signing was done for the day, they figured they’d entertain themselves by trying out a machine that purported to measure punching power.
“Jon Jones had hit it,” Ehrhardt told MMAjunkie in an interview for a special feature on Hendricks, which comes out in Friday’s special UFC 167 pullout section in USA TODAY. “Matt Mitrione and some other heavyweights had also hit it. Then Johny hit it, and he beat everybody’s scores. We just kind of thought, hey, wow.”
The next day, Ehrhardt said, they went to a boxing gym in London that had a similar machine. There, all the top records belonged to local heavyweights.
“So Johny hit that one, and he broke that record too,” Ehrhardt said. “That’s when the switch flipped for both of us, and we thought, there’s some real power in that left hand.”