My how Johny Hendricks has fallen.
Two years ago, “Bigg Rigg” was sitting atop the welterweight world with the title around his waist and a 16-2 record to his credit.
He had just bested Robbie Lawler after a tough split decision loss to then-champion Georges St-Pierre. When GSP vacated the title, Hendricks gladly accepted the role of “Welterweight King” in his stay.
However, it was short-lived, as Lawler claimed the belt later that year and Hendricks has been in a tail-spin ever since.
Entering Friday night and UFC 207 against Neil Magny, Hendricks (17-5) has lost two straight and three of four overall. His lone win was a decision vs. veteran Matt Brown, as he was stopped by Stephen Thompson and bested by Kelvin Gastelum.
Weigh-in issues have also hindered Hendricks, but is there more to it all?
Only those close to the former Oklahoma State University wrestling standout know the answer to that question. From an outside perspective, it appears the years of hard practices on the wrestling mats are catching up to Hendricks.
In MMA, 33 years old would not typically be considered “old.” But for someone who has spent the better part of his life wrestling, it is.
Hendricks looks far from the same fighter who pushed St-Pierre for 25 minutes, defeated Carlos Condit, obliterated Martin Kampmann and knocked out Jon Fitch.
With a 1-3 record over his last four, Hendricks cannot afford to fall to Magny if he ever wants to be in the discussion for best at 170 pounds again.