Johny Hendricks Says Fight With Josh Koscheck Could Be “Brutal Battle on the Feet; Who Wouldn’t Like to See That?”
By Kelsey Mowatt
After sending a shockwave throughout the MMA world in December, by knocking out perennial welterweight contender Jon Fitch in just 12 seconds, Johny Hendricks ensured that his 2012 campaign would begin with another compelling opportunity. Of course, that challenge will come in the form of Fitch’s ex-teammate Josh Koscheck, who despite failing to defeat champion Georges St. Pierre, remains as capable as ever of dashing another contender’s title shot hopes.
“I was really excited,” Hendricks told FCF, when asked for his reaction upon finding out he would fight Koscheck at the May 5th UFC on FOX card in East Rutherford. “He’s a tough opponent, and if I can go in there and do well against him, my argument for a title shot shouldn’t be that hard.”
“At that point I will have beaten the number two ranked guy and the number four ranked guy,” Hendricks added. “Nobody else has done that. You know what I’m saying? All I have to do is get my hand raised and that’s all I’m focused on…Get my hand raised no matter what the cost and enjoy it.”
After Hendricks (12-1) ended Fitch’s six fight undefeated streak, it naturally didn’t take long for speculation to begin, as to whether the UFC might look to match the 28 year-old-fighter up against Koscheck (17-5) next.
“I don’t know if he asked for it,” Hendricks said. “If he did, it is what it is. If he asked for it that makes it that much easier to jump into the Octagon. With those two being teammates, if someone’s at my weight division…I’m not going to look at that guy and say “I want to fight him because he beat my teammate.”
“We’re each individuals, and if I go in there and try to do that, I might not be looking at my best interests,” Hendricks furthered. “ In this case it actually is for him, because if I go out there and beat him, or he can beat me, then either one of us might not get that title shot.”
Of course, the May 5th bout is intriguing not only because of what’s potentially riding on the outcome, but how the fight looks match-up wise. Both men are four time, All American Division 1 wrestlers who have demonstrated highlight reel, knockout power.
“I think what you have to do is showcase everything,” Hendricks said while evaluating the match-up. “If I go in there believing that he just wants to stand and trade with me, then if he tries to take me down that’s just going to throw me off…You have to go in there thinking that anything can happen. In my eyes, I could see us touching gloves and he could go straight for a takedown.”
In Fitch, Hendricks also faced a high level wrestler who has improved his striking skills dramatically, however, the highly regarded fighter hasn’t drawn praise for his stopping abilities like his ex-teammate Koscheck.
“Those two bring different things to the table,” Hendricks noted. “Fitch is going to be a grinder. He’s going to try to do whatever he can to get his momentum going….Josh is sort of the in between. He’s going to play the striking game until he feels like it’s not going his way, and then he will revert to the takedowns to also try and re-establish his stand-up game, which is really good.”
“So, if I know that, and he knows that, we might be go in there with both trying to throw hands and not being able to get a takedown,” Hendricks furthered. “It might just be a three round, brutal battle on the feet. Who wouldn’t like to see that?”
The 34 year-old Koscheck is coming off a split decision win over Mike Pierce in February, who Hendricks also narrowly got by last August with a 2-1 nod from the judges.
“Mike Pierce is a tough dude,” said Hendricks. “It’s hard to sit here and go off on that kind of performance, because Pierce is a tough guy that brings everybody a little bit of fits.”
The May 5th, UFC on FOX 3 card will be hosted by East Rutherford’s IZOD Centre.