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UnderGround Forums >> Johnny Hendricks: Some Background Info


5/7/12 9:11 PM
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wiggum
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I posted this in Damnsevern's "Johnny Hendricks: A Contender Rising" thread and a couple folks reacted really positively to it. Now that Hendricks is legitimately in title contention, I figured it was worth it's own thread:

Few people realize how huge a figure Johnny was in college. Along with Ben Askren, Brent Metcalf, and Darrion Caldwell, he was probably the most polarizing wrestler of his time.

The thing was, Johnny really liked to win. And when he won, he actually emoted. Fans of Iowa style stoicism couldn't stand this. They wanted their wrestlers miserable: you win, run off the mat and hit some sprints; you lose, run off the mat and hit some sprints. When interviewed, say you could have worked harder. Johnny didn't do this, he actually celebrated and showed joy. Made people bananas.

He wins his first NCAA title fair and square. The next year, he is the beneficiary of two of the biggest screwjobs in NCAA history. In the semis, he wrestled American University's Muzafar Abdurakmonov (who went on to coach at American and is now at Harvard/Kenny Florian's wrestling coach. For what it's worth, in practice, Muz was the best wrestler I have ever seen. I once saw him go takedowns with an Olympian for 30 minutes without once being scored on).

Both guys had been warned for stalling. With 45 seconds to go, Muz shoots a single and the ref calls stalling. Muz's coach, Mark Cody, thought the call was against Hendricks because Muz was in on a shot. He told Muz to put his hands down and circle. Muz did just that and lost by a point - the ref had been calling him for stalling. That year, the NCAA used that incident 3 times in their official rules video as an example of a BAD call.

Then, more famously, came the finals. Johnny was wrestling Ryan Churella and had literally 6-7 horrible calls land in his favor. Most notably, Churella cradled him up and had him pinned for a solid second or two.

Thus, Hendricks won his second title on the shakiest of grounds. He was more hated than ever.

The next year, he was clearly the best wrestler in the country. The #2 guy in his weight class was Mark Perry. Hendricks had beaten him something like 8 times in their career, including 2-3 times that season. In one of the all-time great NCAA moments, Perry scores in the last 10 seconds and upsets Hendricks.

All his haters wondered how the big winner would handle losing. I guess they expected a temper tantrum.

Hendricks smiled, held his hand out, and wished Perry a sincere congratulations in one of the best displays of sportsmanship I've seen. He loved to win, but knew how to lose.

Cheers for a class act.
5/7/12 10:15 PM
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wiggum
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No doubt.
5/7/12 10:18 PM
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Kirik
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The Underground, Mayor for Life
 Thank you for the geat post!
5/7/12 10:20 PM
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wiggum
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^^No problem.
5/7/12 10:32 PM
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bknumber1
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TTT Phone Post
5/7/12 11:16 PM
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Mike Chiappetta
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kanodogg2 - Did he have the epic beard when wrestling in college or did he grow that out afterward? Phone Post


He said he started growing the beard early in his pro fighting career, I think it was around his third pro fight.

During this UFC on FOX 3 week was the first time I've really gotten to talk to him, and he's a very impressive person and seems like an all-around nice dude.
5/8/12 12:40 AM
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Leghound
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Cool post, interesting to hear the back story on some of these guys cuz I (like most of the free world) certainly don't follow college wrestling.
5/8/12 1:04 AM
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bonedtillidie
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wiggum - I posted this in Damnsevern's "Johnny Hendricks: A Contender Rising" thread and a couple folks reacted really positively to it. Now that Hendricks is legitimately in title contention, I figured it was worth it's own thread:

Few people realize how huge a figure Johnny was in college. Along with Ben Askren, Brent Metcalf, and Darrion Caldwell, he was probably the most polarizing wrestler of his time.

The thing was, Johnny really liked to win. And when he won, he actually emoted. Fans of Iowa style stoicism couldn't stand this. They wanted their wrestlers miserable: you win, run off the mat and hit some sprints; you lose, run off the mat and hit some sprints. When interviewed, say you could have worked harder. Johnny didn't do this, he actually celebrated and showed joy. Made people bananas.

He wins his first NCAA title fair and square. The next year, he is the beneficiary of two of the biggest screwjobs in NCAA history. In the semis, he wrestled American University's Muzafar Abdurakmonov (who went on to coach at American and is now at Harvard/Kenny Florian's wrestling coach. For what it's worth, in practice, Muz was the best wrestler I have ever seen. I once saw him go takedowns with an Olympian for 30 minutes without once being scored on).

Both guys had been warned for stalling. With 45 seconds to go, Muz shoots a single and the ref calls stalling. Muz's coach, Mark Cody, thought the call was against Hendricks because Muz was in on a shot. He told Muz to put his hands down and circle. Muz did just that and lost by a point - the ref had been calling him for stalling. That year, the NCAA used that incident 3 times in their official rules video as an example of a BAD call.

Then, more famously, came the finals. Johnny was wrestling Ryan Churella and had literally 6-7 horrible calls land in his favor. Most notably, Churella cradled him up and had him pinned for a solid second or two.

Thus, Hendricks won his second title on the shakiest of grounds. He was more hated than ever.

The next year, he was clearly the best wrestler in the country. The #2 guy in his weight class was Mark Perry. Hendricks had beaten him something like 8 times in their career, including 2-3 times that season. In one of the all-time great NCAA moments, Perry scores in the last 10 seconds and upsets Hendricks.

All his haters wondered how the big winner would handle losing. I guess they expected a temper tantrum.

Hendricks smiled, held his hand out, and wished Perry a sincere congratulations in one of the best displays of sportsmanship I've seen. He loved to win, but knew how to lose.

Cheers for a class act.
Thanks for the thread it was an interesting read Phone Post
5/8/12 1:20 AM
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Slick Jitz
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^ did you really have to quote the entire op?! >.< I kid I kid Phone Post
5/8/12 1:21 AM
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Ramone8
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Thanks for the post Wiggum. As an avid of follower of college wrestling, I too thought of making a similar thread, but you certainly did a far better job than I would have.

It seems every year there is a wrestler that fans love to hate, and Johny certainly filled that role for 2-3 years. It seems that everything he did was was scrutinized, even the most trivial of acts or behaviors. As I recall one year in the finals the commentator mentioned that Johny had sought guidance from his pastor about dealing with his portrayal as the bad guy.

Just as an example to show how Hendricks is viewed by college wrestling fans, here is the title of a thread on the largest college wrestling forum about his recent win: "Love Him or Hate Him, Hendricks Finds a Way to Win."


Sidenote: As Wiggum Mentioned, Johny's senior year he was heavily favored to win his 3rd consecutive title over Mark Perry of Iowa. The match was highly dramatic, not because of the possible outcome (it was pretty much assumed that Hendricks would handle Perry for the umpteenth time), but because Hendricks' coach was wrestling legend John Smith (the greatest American wrestler of all time), who just so happened to be Mark Perry's uncle. Just thought some may find that interesting.
5/8/12 1:34 AM
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HULKSMASH
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Great post Phone Post
5/8/12 1:41 AM
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IvanS61
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Good post. Enjoyed the read. Really cool guy Johny is. I had the pleasure of interviewing him. Nothing but class. Phone Post
5/8/12 2:51 AM
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Kansas Comet
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Cool thanks for posting wiggum!
5/8/12 5:38 AM
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wiggum
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Ramone8 - As I recall one year in the finals the commentator mentioned that Johny had sought guidance from his pastor about dealing with his portrayal as the bad guy.

Just as an example to show how Hendricks is viewed by college wrestling fans, here is the title of a thread on the largest college wrestling forum about his recent win: "Love Him or Hate Him, Hendricks Finds a Way to Win."


Sidenote: As Wiggum Mentioned, Johny's senior year he was heavily favored to win his 3rd consecutive title over Mark Perry of Iowa. The match was highly dramatic, not because of the possible outcome (it was pretty much assumed that Hendricks would handle Perry for the umpteenth time), but because Hendricks' coach was wrestling legend John Smith (the greatest American wrestler of all time), who just so happened to be Mark Perry's uncle. Just thought some may find that interesting.


Thanks for the kind words, guys.

Agreed with all the above. Hendricks did seek out guidance from his pastor and it was very interesting with the John Smith family connection.
5/8/12 5:44 AM
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thegreenroom
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What are the chances Perry went to Hendricks and was like, "yo, you got two already, let me get this one" and Hendricks being a good guy was like, "fuck it, whatever". If perry's uncle was Hendricks coach, maybe Hendricks took one for his coach. Phone Post
5/8/12 5:47 AM
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wiggum
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^^Zero.
5/8/12 10:01 AM
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Ramone8
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thegreenroom - What are the chances Perry went to Hendricks and was like, "yo, you got two already, let me get this one" and Hendricks being a good guy was like, "fuck it, whatever". If perry's uncle was Hendricks coach, maybe Hendricks took one for his coach. <img src="/images/phone/apple.png" alt="Phone Post" border="0" style="vertical-align:middle;"/>


John Smith (Hendricks' Coach, Perry's uncle) was so bummed he left the mat before giving his nephew the customary post match handshake. Then again Perry spent quite a bit of time celebrating, and Smith had a wrestler to console.
5/8/12 10:16 AM
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UGCTT_FryedTakayama
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Great post and great read. Hendricks winning was def the best moment of the night for me. Phone Post
5/8/12 10:25 AM
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Synado
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Excellent Post. VU
5/8/12 11:21 AM
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OKMike
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I helped take some youth wrestlers down to an OSU meet before. Hendricks was by far their favorite. I thought he would probably have an ego. After the matches were over, Hendricks took the time to talk to every kid that had been waiting to meet him. He was very gracious and cool with all of the children. I didn't see a hint of attitude in him.
5/8/12 11:37 AM
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wiggum
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^^The hatred of him was mindblowing. While the OSU faithful loved him, much of the wrestling community HATED him. In many ways, he was like a Chael Sonnen.

Only he did nothing to court the negative attention or deserve it. That's why, as stated above, he sought out guidance from his pastor. He really didn't understand why people hated him so much.

Then, when he got his second title, which he really didn't deserve, it just multiplied the hate (even though it wasn't his fault the ref made such bad calls).

In reality, he was just a hardnosed, hard working, humble wrestler who found ways to win and was really happy when he did so.
5/8/12 11:39 AM
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DamnSevern
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5/8/12 11:39 AM
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DamnSevern
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5/8/12 11:40 AM
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DamnSevern
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5/8/12 11:44 AM
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OnlyTheStrongSurvive
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Is it weird that I know two other Mark Perry's besides the one who wrestled Hendricks?

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