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Former UFC champion Hendricks retires with plans to pursue wrestling coaching

‘Everything I set my mind to, I achieved,’ he said of his 10-year professional MMA career.

Retired: Johnny Hendricks.
Retired: Johnny Hendricks.
Image: Isaac Brekken

FORMER UFC WELTERWEIGHT champion Johny Hendricks has decided to call it a day, announcing his retirement from MMA.

After over 10 years of competition, the 34-year-old hangs up his gloves with a professional record of 18-8.

“I’m done,” he told MMAjunkie Radio yesterday, revealing that he plans to focus on coaching high school wrestling. “I’m retiring. I’m getting out of the MMA world.

“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.”

‘Bigg Rigg’ — also a two-time NCAA national wrestling champion at Oklahoma State University — added that time away from training over the past few months helped him to his decision, along with the promise of spending more time with his family.

“One of the things that’s nice is being home the last seven months, spending time with the kids, not worrying about what I needed to do,” Hendricks said.

“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? 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.

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Mixed Martial Arts 2017: UFC 217 In action against Costa. Source: Jason Silva

“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.”

The Oklahoma native’s last six fights have resulted in five losses. His last appearance saw him suffer a second-round TKO loss to Paulo Costa at UFC 217 in November 2017.

In 2014, he was crowned UFC welterweight champion after defeating Robbie Lawler at UFC 171 in Dallas. He lost the best in an immediate rematch with Lawler and from there, he struggled with weight cutting issues.

Hendricks has pretty much closed the door to any return after announcing his retirement, saying he wouldn’t even have interest in a rematch against Georges St-Pierre, to whom he lost in controversial fashion in 2014.

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Emma Duffy

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