Former UFC welterweight champion Johny ‘Bigg Rigg’ Hendricks (18-8-0) has today confirmed his retirement from MMA.
Hendricks confirmed the news during an interview on MMAJunkie radio earlier today, joining the likes of Vitor Belfort (26-14-0), Michael Bisping (30-9-0) and Rashad Evans (19-8-1) who have all announced their respective retirements over the last few weeks.
“I’m done. I’m retiring. I’m getting out of the MMA world,” Hendricks told MMAjunkie Radio. “I’ve been thinking about this long and hard for a while. I’m going to get back to my roots. I’m going to start coaching at All Saints (Episcopal School in Fort Worth, Texas). I coached a little bit of high school last year, but I’m going to make the move over to All Saints and start doing those things.”
After spending the last 10 years competing regularly, Henricks attributes his decision to retire on having spent last seven months at home with his family.
“I looked at my wife and said, ‘Do we really want to do this. I know I’m the one who has to do it, but do we want to do it?” Hendricks said. “Do we want to go through the grind that I used to do, be gone for long periods of time, put my family second, do those kids of things?’ Right now, I can’t really say that.
“I made this decision two weeks ago, but I prayed about it and wanted to make sure I was going to be OK with it.”
Hendricks’ career highlight is undoubtedly his capture of the vacant UFC welterweight title in a thrilling contest against Robbie Lawler back in 2014. The fight went on to be voted fight of the year and to this day remains one of the most entertaining fights to take place in the octagon.
Unfortunately, reaching the pinnacle of the division appears to have been the beginning of the end for Hendricks with Bigg Rigg going 2-6 in the eight fights which followed his first fight with Lawler. The 34-year-old ends his professional career on a two fight losing streak, with a solitary win over Hector Lombard accompanying five losses in his final six UFC appearances.
“Even if you threw Georges St-Pierre at me, the world knows (I beat him),” Hendricks said. “Realistically, I’m satisfied unless they say, ‘Johny, here’s a million-dollar payday. Come fight this dude.’ You can’t turn that down. That would be stupid. But everything I set my mind to, I achieved it. That’s the gist of what I’m feeling at this moment and what I’ve been feeling the last month.
“… I’ll call the UFC and tell them I’m done. I’ll call USADA and tell them I’m done. It’s never a honeymoon phase with me. My goal is to get (high school) wrestlers into national champions. I want to get wrestlers better than I was, better than I could ever be. … For me to do that, I have to put the past in the past and start moving forward.”