With International Fight Week coming up, the UFC is getting set to have an amazing PPV card having the Stipe Miocic defending his Heavyweight strap against the reigning Light Heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier, and the co-main event champion Max Holloway defends his Featherweight belt against rising star Brian Ortega. The UFC will also be entering some very deserving figures in MMA into their Hall of Fame. Former Welterweight Champion Matt Serra, the creator and co-founder of the UFC Art Davie and former UFC champion and now WWE superstar Ronda Rousey will now sit in their rightful place in UFC and MMA history forever. With Hall of Fame inductees announced for 2018, another future Hall of Famer announced their retirement recently and that man’s name is…… Rashad Evans. To go through the accolades of Rashad would take more than just one written article, and really has nothing to do with what I am writing about tonight. The world wasn’t shocked with Evans decision to pack it in, but the world was happy for him to step out now before hurting the legacy he does have in the UFC. We also had another recognizable former champ announce his time in MMA is over, Johny “Big Rigg” Hendricks announced today that his 21 fight career in the UFC has come to an end, and for most fight fans we only have one question… “Who cares?”
I know it sounds very cruel, but most MMA fans thought “Big Rigg” retired back on November 6, 2014 when he lost his belt to Robbie Lawler. After that fight it seemed like “Big Rigg” left MMA and what we got stuck with was plain old Johny Hendricks. When Hendricks had burst on the scene, he had one punch knockout power that amazed the MMA world and had amazing wrestling. That combination had Hendricks future looking brighter than the sun, having notable wins over Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck Martin Kampmann and Carlos Condit. Hendricks then got his chance at GSP for the welterweight championship, and in a 5 round war where it appeared that “Big Rigg” would be the new champ, the judges saw it in GSP’s favor. After GSP vacated the title, Hendricks got another chance at the gold against Robbie Lawler and won the fight by decision earning another Fight of the Night bonus. It seemed the “Big Rigg” era was about to run over the competition in the UFC, but then it all fell apart.
To say that his career was spotty after the loss to Lawler would be putting it lightly. Not only was Hendricks losing fights, he had also seemed to lose the power that he once possessed that would have knocked out a rhino. It’s not strange for a fighter to lose some power, but to lose it all completely once the USADA era started in the UFC? That’s way too much of a coincidence if you ask me. To add insult to injury, a failed business venture with a steak house would seem bad to us, but to Johnny that was the least of his worries. Johny Hendricks had missed weight for fights more times since 2016 than he has won. That doesn’t seem like something you would want a former champion to be remembered for once they decide to hang up the gloves.
Hendricks started out as a phenom when he burst on the scene, fighters and MMA analysts were all over this guys and picking him to be the new GSP in the Welterweight division. Even with the heavy down skid his career took, he still won Knockout of the Night 3 times, Fight of the Night 3 times and fight of the year in 2014 against Robbie Lawler. Realistically though, MMA fans are very fickle and will remember certain things about certain fighters. Rousey will always be known as the one who brought the women’s division to the UFC, but she’s also known for being brutally knocked out by Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes. Johny Hendricks will be known for an all out war with GSP, and also known for never making weight, and having that PED cloud hanging over his head. So Johny, I hope retirement treats you well, and best of luck in your future endeavors.
Photo Credit: Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
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