Johny Hendricks has come a long way since his MMA debut more than 30 months ago.
Hendricks, a former two-time NCAA national wrestling champion at Oklahoma State University, blazed through his first four bouts with little resistance. Now about to make his eighth appearance in the sport, the expectations have been raised. And so has the quality of his opponents.
The 26-year-old native of Ada, Okla., will make his third walk to the Octagon to face Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada, resident T.J. Grant (15-3) on Saturday at UFC 113 “Machida vs. Shogun II” in Montreal.
When that walk to the cage is made, a strong root of confidence will accompany him.
“I believe in myself. I believe that I matchup great with this guy.” said Hendricks (7-0) in a taped interview on Thursday’s Jordan Breen Show. “He’s a tough fighter. He’s got way more experience than me, but I worked way too hard in this camp to let something like this happen, for him to walk away with the W.”
When the bell rings on Saturday, Hendricks aims to bring more than just his improved standup and ground game into the cage: And it starts with the belief that he can't lose and the willingness to do anything it takes to win.
“That’s really what it boils down to. You gotta have to have that kind of heart. That’s what I plan on showing, is that just because somebody’s fought more than I have that I can’t come in here and do what I need to do to get my hand raised.”