In the opening seconds of the UFC 167 main event, still UFC welterweight champion George St-Pierre took down two-time Div 1 national wrestlng champion Johny Hendricks. Hendricks said afterwards that he was throwing his punches at 70%, and many attributed that to the need to stay low and avoid being taken down further. However, in an interview with the Dallas News, Hendricks attributed the paced punching power to his wraps.
Fighters protect their hands with up to 15 yards of soft gauze cloth, and up to 10 feet of surgeon's tape. The wrap can be varied, depending upon whether the fighter employs a grappling or a striking style. A grappling wrap is smaller, making it easier to pummel, grab, submit, etc. However, that thin wrap can leave the knuckles bruised. A striker's wrap provides more support for the hand both in front, around the hand, and in the palm, but is bulkier, and makes grabbing harder.
Hendricks says he was given a lighter wrap and that that made a major difference.
Mark Fancescutti: The UFC 171 pay-per-view card will take place March 15 at American Airlines Center in Dallas. Do you think you have a chance then to fight in that card?
Johny Hendricks: Yeah, I think I have a great chance to fight on that card. It's going to be great for Texas and a lot of people in Oklahoma. My goal is to have it be one of the bigger shows. If I can't fight, I am still going to promote it. It's going to be great for the sport to come here and try to fill the stadium. That would be impressive.
MF: How is your health? You suffered a knee injury?
JH: I am fine. I got it checked out today (Thursday) and the doctor said it was totally fine. The swelling is down. I should be getting cleared today.
MF: It looks like you had GSP in a precarious position in the fourth round. You were on top, throwing elbows. Then you got up. Do you regret letting GSP up?
JH: Yeah I did let him up. I was beating him everywhere I had him. He wasn't hurting me on the feet. I did some ground and pound. I showed the world I can do that. I want to win by knockout. I don't want to be the person who takes him down and is cautious. I want to make fans happy.
MF: What did you learn from this fight?
JH: I outwrestled him. I outjabbed him. I outstruck him. I need to do a little more kicking. Whenever I did kick I was effective. There are some things I can do to make it more one-sided. I clearly thought I won 1, 2 and 4. (My grappling coach), he said, "you're 2-1 and best case scenario 3-0." They were giving me round-by round updates. We thought we had it in the bag.
MF: You said you only used 70 percent of your power against GSP? What happened to your knuckles? And there was a problem taping your gloves?
JH: I usually get a thick wrap and this time I didn't do that. Instead of me asking for a thicker wrap, I kept my mouth shut. It's my fault. That's on me. It means I hit hard enough that I can punch through the 4 oz gloves. So that's what made my hands get bruised. I couldn't punch as hard as I could (have). The more injured I get, the less I get to use it, the more he gets comfortable, so I had to tone down my power. I was still hurting at 70 percent. Wait till I get a full hand wrap. That only builds confidence, because I beat the pound for pound best fighter in the world. I will be back, and I will be stronger than before.
Read entire interview...