Dallas — Let’s be honest here: beefs between fighters are what make the world of combat sports go round and round, even when they don’t make any sense or go back to the fighter’s amateur days.
The latter is the case in the beef of one Welterweight Champion Ben Askren and UFC Welterwieght contender Tyron Woodley with former UFC Welterweight champion Johny Hendricks.
Although they have yet to meet in the Octagon, Askren and Woodley have had an issue with Hendricks for years due to him beating both men in amateur wrestling while they were in college. Despite all three having pretty successful careers in their own right, Askren and Woodley feel the need to needle Hendricks when they see fit.
“If you read MMA forums, people are starting to understand what kind of person Johny is and are starting to dislike him,” Askren recently told Woodley on his podcast. “He’s just a baby. You’ve been around him for years. He’s a freaking baby.”
Woodley would add via MMAFighting.com:
“I actually like Johny as a person, now. I’ve hung out with him once or twice at a fan expo, but as an athlete, especially in the past, even now, every fight it’s this, this and this.”
With Askren not in the UFC, the only realistic fight the beef can produce is a fight between Hendricks and Woodley.
Hendricks and Woodley were scheduled to fight at UFC 192 in a welterweight title eliminator bout. The bout was scrapped prior to the weigh-ins due to an intestinal blockage and kidney stone attack Hendricks suffered during the weight cut.
Now fully recovered and refocused, Hendricks is gearing up for his fight with Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson at UFC Fight Night: Hendricks vs. Thompson.
Hendricks told Dallas Blitz Weekly exclusively about his thoughts on Woodley and Askrin’s recent comments.
“People are going to talk – they are always going to talk. You are always going to have those “Internet Warriors”. That’s what they are. Ben, I don’t even know what the hell to say about Ben – get in the UFC and then come fight me. Woodley, I had the opportunity. I failed I know that but, hey be careful what you wish for because this is a different Johny, a different animal. I’m going to be back, I’m going to get back on top and one day and I will face him and whenever I do, my hand will get raised.”
Despite the comments, Hendricks and his camp are 100 percent focused on his upcoming fight with Thompson. If he’s able to defeat the talented Thompson for his 13th victory inside the Octagon, Hendricks has a little message he plans on sending his rival Woodley’s way.
“You know what, I don’t know what the deal with them is. Here’s the thing. Guess what? I could get that fight back. Y know how I get that fight back? I beat “Wonderboy”, and guess what? I am either calling out Robbie Lawler or Tyron Woodley. Let’s do it.”
Hendricks would go on to add, “If he thinks I’m that big of a whiner [laughs], we can handle it, definitely now that my life has changed. There’s been a lot of negative in my life; now I’m starting to get refocused and rekindled.”
If Robbie Lawler and Carlos Condit are forced to have a rematch of their epic bout at UFC 195, at least the Hendricks and Woodley rivalry will give the welterweight division another opportunity for the division to produce another fan friendly fight.