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One Punch: Johny Hendricks Hopes for Title Shot After UFC 141 KO of Jon Fitch

Twelve seconds. That’s all it took.

Usually that’s how long it takes to drink the remaining milk left from your bowl of cereal, or untie and remove your shoes, or how long it takes for you to tune out your girlfriend.

While Johny Hendricks might be able to untie his shoes rather quickly, he will certainly remember the twelve second milestone for a different reason.

That is when his mixed martial arts career changed forever.

Before December 30th, the last time Jon Fitch was finished in a fight was over nine years prior.

Hendricks was still in high school at that time.

But now, after his now infamous knockout of Fitch at UFC 141, Hendricks is ready to graduate to the top of the UFC.

Going into the fight, Hendricks was seen as an underdog to the veteran. But even with the odds against him, Hendricks knew he had gotten his big break, and he did not want to let this one slip away.

“I finally had my opportunity,” Hendricks told “I could either crumble under the pressure, or make my move. And at the beginning of the night, something just felt good. I did a solid warmup and just tried my best to stay relaxed.”

Staying relaxed can certainly be a task, especially when fighting on your first pay-per-view main card. While Hendricks was seen as a formidable opponent in the welterweight division, until UFC 141, he had not yet reached title contender status.

The four time All-American wrestler made his debut at UFC 101 in similar fashion, defeating Amir Sadollah in under thirty seconds. But even with impressive wins over contenders like Charlie Brenneman and Mike Pierce, the most recognizable aspect of Hendricks’ career was his beard. But hey, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being recognized for that.

That beard came into the Octagon against the former title challenger, and Hendricks knew exactly what he wanted to do as soon as he stood opposite of him.

“When I saw Fitch, I couldn’t wait to fight,” Hendricks explained, and fortunately for him he did not have to wait long to fight, and for it to be over.

Hendricks knocked Fitch out with the first punch he threw, a quick left straight to the jaw.

Who better to explain how it happened, than Hendricks himself:

“When Jon throws a straight right, which is what he started with, he wants to take you down. He expects the opponent to back up, then he attacks the legs. When he threw it, I circled away, and I threw everything. His right hand was in the right spot, to protect my counter, but I put it in the right spot. Then it all froze, and I had to tell myself to keep hitting him. Luckily the ref was there when I was going down to hit him again.

“To this day, it still seems unreal.”

Even though it may feel unreal, Hendricks’ quick ascent to the top of the division is absolutely real. And with the welterweight division in a state of flux, due to Georges St. Pierre’s injury, Hendricks wants to take advantage of his newly anointed contender status.

“I want an interim title shot,” said Hendricks. “That is my dream. I did not want to talk that way before UFC 141 so I could protect myself in case I lost. But you’ve got to promote yourself. And I know that. The interim title holder is going to likely have to defend his title at least once. I want to be that person.”

Even if he is not that person, and he has to continue moving up the ladder, Hendricks’ place in the division is confirmed with that victory. But he still knows that can all go away just as quickly as it came about.

“I don’t want people thinking it was a lucky punch. I have to go out and prove that. And I will.”


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