Johny Hendricks will be competing for the vacant UFC welterweight belt at UFC 171. However, if he has his way, it won’t be the only divisional championship he’ll obtain in his career.

Speaking to MMA Junkie, Hendricks expressed his desire to avoid cutting down to 170 pounds in the future. “I’d love to fight at 185,” Hendricks said. “Not having to cut down to 170? Are you kidding me?”

The 30-year-old title challenger says he walks around at about 215 to 220 pounds, which is approximately the weight from which the standard UFC middleweight fighter begins his cut for a fight. Hendricks, though, cuts down an additional 15 pounds to make the 170-pound weight limit. It’s obvious that he’s not a big fan of making that cut.

Coming from a wrestling background, the former Oklahoma State University standout is accustomed to cutting weight. However, it’s also something that doesn’t get any easier as the years go by. Although he has only recently became a well-known fighter, Hendricks isn’t a 21-year-old prospect who can afford to tinker with his body.

Of course, Hendricks isn’t looking past his UFC 171 opponent, Robbie Lawler, and said that he doesn’t see a move happening for at least a few years. But if Hendricks were to make the switch to fighting at 185 pounds, how would he fare against the current crop of UFC middleweights?

The most obvious difference Hendricks would encounter is the height and reach of his opponents in the middleweight division. Chris Weidman and Vitor Belfort stand 6-foot tall, Anderson Silva and Michael Bisping are 6-foot-2 and Brazilians Lyoto Machida and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza stand at 6-foot-1. That’s quite a bit of height, let alone reach, for the 5-foot-9 Hendricks to overcome. Still, Hendricks is confident that wouldn’t an issue.

“It doesn’t hurt me because everybody that I fight is 6-, 6-foot-2 with a 75-, 76-inch reach,” he said. “They’re all tall guys, and I have to get inside of them.”

Hendricks’ teammates may be able to recreate his potential opponent’s height and reach in terms of physical attributes, but facing a world-caliber fighter is a lot different than facing guys in the gym. Just ask the world-renowned gym champ Mike Pyle.

There’s also the fact that Hendricks would be giving up perhaps the greatest advantage he enjoys at 170 pounds—his strength. Hendricks could likely add some muscle or prevent himself from tiring as quickly if he didn’t cut weight, but he’d also be fighting guys who would be a lot bigger than the current crop of welterweights he’s facing now. Many of the middleweights are former light heavyweights or guys that could make a decent run in the 205-pound division. Suffice it to say, there’s a reason most guys go down a weight class when looking to make a change, rather than moving up in weight.

Certainly, Hendricks could find enough success to warrant a place on the top 10 in the UFC rankings if he were to head up to the middleweight rankings, but there’s no reason for him to make any such move at this point in time. Even if he manages to clear out the welterweight division in a few years, he will have likely earned enough of a reputation to step away from the sport as one of the greatest fighters of this generation.

Or Lawler could throw a monkey wrench into all of Hendricks’ future plans outside the welterweight division. Better keep your chin tucked, Mr. “Bigg Rigg.”

About The Author

Kyle Symes
Staff Writer

Kyle is a recent graduate of Aurora University, where he obtained a Bachelor's in Communications. Kyle resides in Illinois, just outside of Chicago. He played baseball and football in both high school and college, but is now focusing on an amateur MMA career.