The former-middleweight and light-heavyweight title-challenger Chael Sonnen believes he knows exactly what caused the sudden decline of Johny Hendricks.
A decline in the career of an athlete in any sport is often an inevitability in which the onset of its effects can be seen either gradually or in a very sudden and worrying fashion.
This never rings truer than it does in the late-career slumps we see in the world of combat sports. No matter who you are or how great you once were, it is said that Father Time comes for every fighter at some point in their career, the difference is, some know when to quit, while others do not.
For the former-UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks, however, his decline was one that has baffled people in a way that we don’t often see in this sport.
‘Big Rigg’, who was famed for his beautiful wrestling technique and his truly terrifying knockout power, has gone 2-6 in his last eight outings and along with some well-documented issues with his weight-cuts, had looked a shadow of his former self, one who has completely lost his power and along with it, his ability to pull off the feats he was capable of his earlier career.
Hendricks was the guy who was literally blasting guys with the type of power that all-but swept them off their feet, the guy who went to war with Robbie Lawler twice and, of course, the guy who gave the former champion Georges St-Pierre the toughest fight of his life.
Now, following a forced-move to middleweight, Johny’s luck has just gone from bad-to-worse as he was matched up against unbeaten powerhouse Brazilian behemoth that is Paulo ‘Borrachinha’ Costa, who despite pulling a decent performance out of Hendricks, managed to overpower him with relative ease on the way to the second-round TKO victory.
It was ugly and was seen by many as one of the more predictable outcomes on what was a truly unpredictable night at UFC 217.
Chael Sonnen, a man whose opinions on the world of MMA are seemingly endless, voiced his concerns about Hendricks following his latest showing but instead of writing him off completely, broke down exactly what has gone wrong in his latest run and how he feels as though all is not lost for the once-great welterweight champ.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena