One might not expect a knockout artist to be so bright and cheery. Yet, the key to Johny Hendricks psychologically getting over a controversial decision loss to Georges St. Pierre last year was the welterweight's positive attitude that is just as much a trademark of his as his wrestling skills or powerful punching.
According to his nutrition coach and former UFC fighter Mike Dolce, Hendricks has a special mindset that doesn't allot him to stay down for too long. As Hendricks heads into another championship fight this Saturday at UFC 171, this time against Robbie Lawler for the vacant welterweight world title, he's doing so with a smile on his face.
"For Johny, [disappointment] lights a fire," Dolce recently told USA Today.
"He's a two-time, division I national champion wrestler. You don't get there without having a different type of mentality. Johny certainly has that so, when he walked out of that Octagon vs. GSP, Johny had his head up the whole time. He was rust rated that he didn't get the gold belt around his waist but in the locker room, in the back, he was cheering up his coaches. Johny was all smiles and high fives. And when we woke up the next day, it felt as if we were waking up after a victory performance."
For his part, Hendricks was shocked that he was able to stay composed and classy after the judges scored the fight for St. Pierre last fall despite the former wrestler appearing to have controlled almost every round with striking and wrestling.
"Man, the good Lord," Hendricks told USA Today in regards to how he kept it together and stayed positive.
"Man, I prayed about it. I think a lot of my fans did, too. Because, realistically, I thought I was going to flip out. I really did. Whenever Joe grabbed that mic to me, man, I thought I was just going to go on a rampage. But something came over me, man. It was just like, 'boom.' Stay calm. You know? It wasn't our moment. And, look, in return, I get to fight here in Dallas...it turned out to be a blessing."
Hendricks takes Lawler on Saturday from his home town of Dallas at UFC 171 on pay per view.