Before his decision win over Carlos Condit at UFC 158, Johnny Hendricks had knocked out two top tier welterweights in Martin Kampmann and Jon Fitch with perfectly timed straight left punches. Both fighters were known for their ability to take a punch, but Hendricks was able to land hard enough to KO them both. He recently spoke to Fight Land about what he thinks gives hiim the ability to knock people out:
“Wrestlers tend to have bigger legs, bigger hips and butt and a stronger back,” he says. “Combine all those things, and what really makes you throw punches are your legs and your butt. I think that’s really where my power comes from, that ability to make those quick hip movements. In wrestling you have to react in seconds, in a blink of an eye. That’s the same in fighting: Your hips have got to be able to react on their own. I think that’s one reason I can hit so hard. I just let my body take over. I let my eyes see what needs to be seen and I let my body react the way it needs to react.”
But the main reason it looks like Hendricks isn’t really exerting himself that much when he lands a KO punch is this: He isn’t. Crucial to his knockout blows is accuracy. That vision and speed, his ability to take things in and react quickly, helps him target punches just where they need to go.
“You don’t have to hit someone that hard to knock someone out,” he says. “The way that I hit people, I don’t hit them that hard. I hit them 80 percent, just like training. What I do is I really focus on the accuracy part. If you move your head, I still want to be able to hit you. If you lean back, I still want to be able to touch you. I think that’s the most important part. No matter what happens, whenever I throw a punch, I at least want to get close enough that they have to respect it.”
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