Former UFC welterweight champion Johny “Bigg Rigg” Hendricks’ future in the sport has been thrown into reasonable doubt as of late, after a failed attempt to refind form in the middleweight division. The American’s fight against Paulo Costa was the last in his contract and having lost five of his last six fights, many assumed we had seen the last of the former champ.
Nothing has ever been proven, but it’s on the mind of many MMA fans that the introduction of USADA and the rapid decline in Hendricks performances cannot just be sheer coincidence. We were so used to seeing the 34-year-old decorating the octagon with his opponents, and it seemed the bearded brawler that punched his opponents like Martin Kampmann, Jon Fitch and TJ Waldburger around the cage, was gone for good.
However, the old Hendricks may be on the rise. According to ESPN, the 34-year-old is back in training. But now he is training at the UFC’ Training Institute and he is eying a return to the 170lb division he once conquered in MMA’s greatest proving ground. And he is hoping to do so before the year is out.
It’s unclear how the fans will feel about the return of Hendricks, and with the 34-year-old struggling to make weight on several occasions, it is going to take a few nice wins before people are brought back into Hendricks. I, for one, hope we see Hendricks back to his very best under the lights of the UFC.