If it takes flying to Las Vegas to get some answers, Johny Hendricks will do it.
Hendricks (Twitter: @JohnyHendricks), the UFC welterweight No. 1 contender, meets former UFC No. 1 contender Carlos Condit on Saturday at UFC 158 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec.
Prior to Hendricks’ last bout, a KO victory over Martin Kampmann, he was promised a title shot against the winner of Condit and champion Georges St-Pierre. St-Pierre prevailed that night and a match against Hendricks was expected to follow. However, GSP requested a fight with Nick Diaz, which took Hendricks out of title contention.
Hendricks, in an effort to stay active, was initially paired against Jake Ellenberger so that St-Pierre and Diaz could settle their feud. Condit was scheduled to fight Rory MacDonald, and all three bouts were slated for the UFC 158 event. After MacDonald fell victim to injury and withdrew from his bout, Hendricks was then pulled from his bout with Ellenberger and matched against Condit.
Though, the opponents have been switched and a title shot is out of the picture, Hendricks is now suited with his best option for the time being.
“Jake Ellenberger, he hasn’t had a shot at the title, so a win over Carlos Condit would help me more,” Hendricks told Amy Barton and Jason Kelly on Punch Drunk Radio on the MMA DieHards Radio Network. “Secondly, Condit beat Ellenberger not too long ago, and he did lose to Martin Kampmann a long time ago, so there is a lot of things that play into this. The heaviest one that I was excited about is he is just coming off the GSP (fight). I’ve done a lot to be in the No. 1 contender spot, but now if I can beat (Condit), then there’s no questions.”
Hendricks was suffice fighting Ellenberger, he’s content competing against Condit, but if the injury went the other way he is not sure if he would be so keen on the idea of battling MacDonald.
It’s not that MacDonald isn’t a formidable opponent. In his short UFC career he has had impressive showings, especially his most recent outing and dismantlement of B.J. Penn, and MacDonald is ranked in the Top 5 welterweights in the UFC.
MacDonald is a viable foe for Hendricks, but his affiliation with Tristar is something “Big Rigg” views as a possible personal disadvantage in the future.
“I want to fight Rory MacDonald, the reason I wouldn’t is because he is part of GSP’s camp,” Hendricks said. “I thought something like that might have happened before Rory called out Carlos Condit, I thought me and him might be next. That way GSP can help Rory MacDonald train for me and see how the outcome is. So, then whenever our time comes, he can plan to nullify those things. That’s one thing I don’t want to give him a shot at. It’d be like him training two camps to fight me. Then again, if Dana White said, ‘Hey Johnny, you got to fight Rory MacDonald.’ Then guess what? I’m fighting Rory MacDonald. That’s just the business. Just because I don’t want to fight somebody, doesn’t mean I’m not going to.”
Hendricks is staying positive and active throughout his delayed title shot. Though, he should be facing St-Pierre for the belt at UFC 158, Hendricks has a simple philosophy that keeps him on track.
“My philosophy is one day I will have the title,” Hendricks said. “One day I’m going to have to step in the Octagon with these guys, why not now? Why not make it clear that nobody, nobody is the number one contender except me? There’s no reason anybody should bypass me. That’s what I’m looking at right now. If GSP wants to fight someone else, guess what? Ok. If the UFC wants me to fight somebody, sure let’s do it. I’m going to have to fight them anyways.”
A victory over Condit puts Hendricks in a position that makes him undeniably next in line for a title shot. There would be no sensible opponents left for Hendricks, and if still not awarded his much deserved title fight, he will be booking a trip to visit his employers
“I’m going to fly to Vegas,” Hendricks said. “I’m going to fly to Vegas and ask them, ‘What do I need to do to prove that I should fight GSP?’ That’s my main focus, is getting to that belt. Nobody cares if in five years I’m where I’m at now. Say something happens and I can’t fight again, do you think people will remember who number two is? In five, seven years? No, man. People care who has the belt, and that’s what I want, I want to get to that belt.”
Now in the UFC, Jordan Mein aspires to test himself against all competitors in the welterweight division.
Hailing from Lethbridge, Alberta, Mein (Twitter: @fightingmeins) makes his UFC debut Saturday at UFC 158 against Dan Miller at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec. It’s been a lifelong goal for Mein to compete in the Octagon, and at 23-years-old, the Canadian has put in the work throughout his 34-fight career.
Mein’s journey to the UFC began was he was a teenager and had his first professional fight against a now well-known UFC welterweight.
“(Rory MacDonald and I) were 16(-years-old), and it was at the Enmax Centre,” Mein told Jason Kelly and Joe Rizzo on MMA DieHards Radio on the MMA DieHards Radio Network. “It’s one of the bigger buildings we have in Lethbridge, they put on big concerts and my dad (the promoter) had the fights there. We’ve had a few there, but usually we had them at The Pavilion (At Lethbridge Exhibition Grounds), which is a smaller venue.
“I brought the family out there and it was a great night. We had a lot of fun. Unfortunately I lost in front of my friends and family, so that was kind of embarrassing, but you get over it and get better from it and learn.”
Though, Mein suffered a loss in his pro debut, he rebounded with back-to-back victories and continued gaining experience in western Canada. After racking up wins against UFC veterans such as Joe Riggs and Josh Burkman, Mein got a call from The Score Fighting Series to scrap international sensation Marius Zaromskis. Mein defeated Zaromskis via decision, and got an opportunity to show his skills under the Zuffa banner in Strikeforce.
First up, Mein met Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos, and brutalized the Brazilian with standing elbows, resulting in a TKO victory. He then dropped a split decision against Tyron Woodley, but was victorious in his final Strikeforce match against Tyler Stinson.
With the closing event in Strikeforce’s existence scheduled, Mein was not required for the card. This led to the Canadian returning to SFS and fighting another UFC veteran in Forrest Petz, who Mein dismantled in Round 1, but it was still unsure if the Albertan’s next bout would be in the Octagon.
Fortunately, Mein didn’t endure a great deal of anxiety after defeating Petz.
“It took about a few weeks for them to get a hold of us,” Mein said. “They sent the contract, and yeah, that’s the only organization we talked to. That’s basically the only organization we wanted to talk to because that’s been my goal for a while now, to get in the UFC.”
In his inaugural UFC match, Mein is not being handed any favors, nor is he requesting any. Meeting Miller in his debut will gauge where Mein stands amongst the UFC welterweight division, and he is honored to test his mettle against such a formidable foe.
“He’s one of the best guys in the organization,” Mein said. “Coming down from middleweight, he fought Ricardo Funch. I watched that fight; I watched basically all of his fights. He’s a really tough guy, he’s never been finished, he’s one of the best and he’s had a long UFC career. I’m super excited I get my first fight to be with a guy like that. It means a lot to me.”
Defeating Miller is first on Mein’s list-to-do, but he does foresee a plethora of intriguing matches in his UFC career.
Mein said avenging a loss against MacDonald, or any of his previous opponents he suffered defeat to would be grand. But, with a talent laden pool of 170-pound fighters in his division, Mein is not picky with who he is matched against.
“There’s so many guys, right?” Mein said. “You got Kyle Noke, Nick Catone, Seth Baczynski, Brian Ebersole, T.J. Waldburger, Claude Patrick, there’s so many names out there. Maybe not a whole lot of people know who they are, but they’re all really solid fighters. There’s so many good guys to fight and I want to fight all of them.”
DROID-FRIENDLY AUDIO ARCHIVE HERE:
iPhone-friendly audio available for download on iTunes or HERE on Stitcher Radio
Your magic number is five. That’s the number of guests for the best two hours of Jay Kelly’s week, when he co-hosts MMADieHards Radio with Joe Rizzo. Find the player above to catch the show live weekly from 8:30-10:30 p.m. ET, 5:30-7:30 PT, and jump into the chat room to enhance your listening experience. Otherwise, catch the archive right here, or via iTunes or Stitcher.
When it takes until the second paragraph to tell your listeners that the great TOMMY TOE HOLD is on the show, you’ve done something in the industry called “burying the lede.” Yes, the hottest person (caricature?) in MMA joins the fray.
Ahead of Tommy, whose next video hit around the same time as the live broadcast of MMADieHards Radio ended, are a couple of atomweights to set a torrid pace. Laura Sanko and Jessica Philippus are both 105-pound fighters in Invicta, and together they make Team Fancy. You’ll learn the story behind the nickname after the show kicks off with Laura’s Top 10 Reasons To Watch Invicta Instead of the UFC.
Yes, Laura came up with the whole thing herself.
Bruce Hoyer explains what happened when South Dakota Representative Steve Hickey visited his Next Edge Academy in Sioux Falls, along with Invicta’s Shayna Baszler, after Hickey’s controversial remarks comparing MMA to child pornography. Find out how Hoyer and Baszler responded and what they did to educate their publically elected official.
We close it out by looking ahead to UFC 158 as John Makdessi joins the show. Makdessi (10-2) is looking for his second straight win in the UFC on March 16 in Montreal, where he takes on Daron Cruickshank in a lightweight match. John’s appearance mark the continuation of the streak of shows in which Jay has had a Canadian guest.
But this time he is outnumbered by Americans.
*NOTE: Due to technical issues, Jessica’s appearance was limited, and she has agreed to come back on next week, along with Ottavia Bourdain.