When Johny Hendricks did the previously unthinkable by knocking Jon Fitch out in December at UFC 141 he immediately thrust himself into title contention given Fitch’s previous success in the Octagon as well as his own 12-1 career mark. However, Hendricks didn’t let the performance or his record do the talking for him and quickly made sure to express the fact he’d done what Diego Sanchez, Thiago Alves, and Georges St. Pierre couldn’t by finishing Fitch off.
The All-American wrestler with knockout power is once again putting himself out there to make sure the public hasn’t forgotten his name where contendership is concerned, lobbying for a shot at the winner of this weekend’s headlining bout at UFC 143 between Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit rather than a title-eliminator beforehand.
“I’ve been telling everybody I really want the winner of (Diaz vs. Condit),” Hendricks explained to ESPN’s website. “You don’t get this opportunity too often. Now that I’ve done it in the ring, I’ve got to do it outside the ring. If I don’t promote myself outside the ring — I mean, there are great fights going on and now they’re happening almost every week. You can be forgotten.”
“Here’s the thing,” Hendricks continued. “Unless the UFC says, ‘Johny, you have to fight — we want you to get a shot at the title, but we have some questions, and you need another one first,’ then of course I’m not going to bite the hand that feeds me. I’m going to do what they say,” before adding, “But if it’s up to me, I’d much rather go for the UFC interim belt. I’ve seen so many people who are right there, right there to get that shot and something happens … it never fails, something happens, and they don’t win. And then it takes them three or four fights to get back, which is a year to a year-and-a-half back, and that’s if everything lines up perfectly.”
While he’s not ready to become Chael Sonnen just yet, Hendricks did say you can expect to see him pleading his case publicly because he’s started to grasp the importance of self-promotion outside of the Octagon.
“You’ve got to,” he casually concluded.
It is expected the winner of Diaz-Condit will defend the interim championship at least once before linear title-holder St. Pierre returns to action from a torn ACL he suffered in preparation for a February fight.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC