From Dan Severn to Mark Coleman to the great Randy Couture, there is no doubt that wrestling is an integral part of the UFC’s DNA. But today’s modern MMA combatants require more than just the ability to secure a takedown with hopes of pounding an opponent into submission. A wellrounded game is crucial to surviving the long, arduous climb up the rankings. For wrestlers who have put in the work to develop a highlevel striking and submission arsenal, their backgrounds offer them a distinct advantage—the ability to dictate where the fi ght takes place. Possessing such a powerful weapon has, perhaps counterintuitively, led to more wrestlers gaining confidence in their hands—keep it standing, look for the KO, and if it’s not working, you have a backup plan.
One fighter with a wrestling background who has found success on his feet is none other than July’s cover standout, Johny Hendricks. With a recent victory over Josh Koscheck, Hendricks is now one step closer to a title shot. This month, Jim Casey sits down with Johny in Las Vegas to find out a little more about the man with two NCAA Division I National Titles and a loaded left hand.
In addition to possessing what is arguably the best base skill set from which to build a successful MMA fi ghter, wrestlers are also used to the daily physical grind necessary to compete. This high level of conditioning, however, doesn’t guarantee that an athlete won’t gas out. Even the most well conditioned fi ghter can fall fl at if he is incapable of wisely managing his energy. On page 82, resident fitness guru Joel Jamieson explains some of the training philosophies behind Demetrious Johnson’s latest victory. The 100 mph 125 pounder can go bell to bell without question, and pacing is a big part of the reason why.
Speaking of managing energy, if you plan on being in Las Vegas the weekend of July 7th and the UFC Expo is on your todo list, make sure to stop by the FIGHT! Magazine booth, powered by MRI and Prolab. We will be pacing ourselves for a long weekend of prize giveaways and fighter signing opportunities. Just look for the hanging exclamation marks!