by Taylor Miller, Oklahoma State Sports Information
STILLWATER, Okla. – On Saturday, Former Oklahoma State wrestling star Johny “Bigg Rigg” Hendricks will step into the octagon at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas as the night’s main event, fighting UFC standout Georges St-Pierre for the welterweight title belt.
Hendricks wrestled for the Pokes from 2004-2007. During his time as a Cowboy, he compiled a 126-13 overall record, placing sixth all-time on OSU’s win list and was a four-time All-American, three-time Big 12 champion and two-time NCAA champion.
Hendricks owns a 15-2 record in mixed martial arts and a 10-1 record in UFC fights. His opponent, St-Pierre, is the defending welterweight champion, who is 24-2 overall and 19-2 in the UFC.
In preparation for the event, Hendricks, a graduate of Edmond Memorial High School, spent several days in the Oklahoma State wrestling room at Gallagher-Iba practicing the very skill that got him where he is today. The two-time NCAA champ said his time spent with Coach John Smith and the 2013-14 Cowboy wrestling squad was the most challenging part of his training.
“Training was rough. It was hard,” Hendricks said. “Coming up here was most of the reason why it was hard. Getting to grind with these young kids just makes it a challenge. That’s what it is—a grind. Fighting is a grind, but it’s not near as hard as working out with guys like Chris Perry, Kyle Crutchmer, and Alex Dieringer. Those guys are just beasts.”
Even with so much on the line, Hendricks said his best approach to GSP is to treat it like just another fight.
“Realistically, it is just another fight,” he said. “I can’t think about what happens if I win because the belt is there despite the outcome. I don’t want to overlook who I’m fighting. Right now, I have to beat GSP. If I beat GSP, the belt is mine. That’s how I’m looking at it as a two-step goal. One, is to beat George St. Pierre, and two, to get the belt.”
Hendricks feels that the wrestling experience from Smith and OSU wrestling program will give him a slight edge over St-Pierre.
“It’s only going to help me for my fighting. That’s what I want.”
Hendricks' Last Five Fights
3/16/13 Carlos Condit W UD 3
11/17/12 Martin Kampmann W KO 1
5/5/12 Josh Koscheck W SD 3
12/30/11 Jon Fitch W KO 1
8/6/11 Mike Pierce W SD 3