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NEW YORK – Former UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks maintains an illness kept him from making weight in his previous fight. He playfully chided the media for reporting the information, despite the fact that he hadn’t informed anyone about it.
Now on the verge of his third bout as a middleweight, a twitchy Hendricks (18-7 MMA, 13-7 UFC) claimed all systems are a go for a must-win fight against Paulo Borrachinha (10-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) at UFC 217. He said the Brazilian will have a bad night when they meet on the event’s pay-per-view main card at Madison Square Garden in New York.
“I’m not going to get sick this time,” Hendricks told reporters at Wednesday’s media day. “If I don’t get sick, it’s an easy weight cut. Easy weight cut means good fight for me.”
So far, those have been in short supply. Hendricks came in heavy for a bout against Tim Boetsch at UFC Fight Night 112, adding to a long list of weight-induced struggles outside the cage. He was stopped in the second round, bringing him to 2-5 in his past seven outings.
Hendricks has taken drastic measures to pull out of his current stall. The Texan drove across state lines to train at the famed Jackson Wink Academy in Albuquerque, N.M., getting in rounds with a bevy of top-tier UFC fighters.
The undefeated Borrachinha stands between Hendricks and redemption. The up-and-comer has stopped his past two opponents with fists. All but one of them have made it out of the first round.
“Yeah, he’s a large human being,” Hendricks said. “He feeds his muscles babies, and that’s the jist of it. All show, no go – that’s what I like to say. And we’ll find out on Saturday if they have any go in them.”
That’s likely the question most fans will be asking of Hendricks when he steps into the octagon. Looming before that fight is a battle with the scale.
Hendricks said there are many struggles behind the scenes that the public never knows about. Unlike other professions, he said, fighters have to suck it up and keep going. Plenty of times, he has come in less than 100 percent, whether he let the world know or not.
This time, though, he said everything is going just smoothly.
“I’m not sick,” he said. “I’m not fat. I’m just chillin’.”
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