Johny Hendricks always did have a little of the wild side in him.
The former Edmond Memorial wrestler and Oklahoma State University star known for his enthusiasm on the mat has opted for a new career route. And, like Hendricks, it’s anything but tame.
Last month, Hendricks signed with Team Takedown, a mixed martial arts fighter management group. He’s currently training in Las Vegas and could one day soon find himself a competitor in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, a no-holds-barred kind of sport that has found increased popularity in the United States.
“I actually had this on my mind for a while, I just never got the opportunity,” Hendricks said. “When Team Takedown came around, I was ready to sign up. It was what I was waiting for.”
Hendricks finished up a memorable career at OSU in March with a national runner-up finish at 165 pounds. During his four years with the Cowboys, he won two national championships and went 127-13, including a remarkable 63-2 his last two seasons.
In the past, successful collegiate wrestler at the end of their careers had just two ways to go professional in the sport — they could coach, or enter the circus of pro wrestling. With the increased success of the UFC, however, Hendricks and others now have another option.
“It’s really not that much different than wrestling,” Hendricks said. “You go in there, you train your butt off, you do everything they tell you to do, and you go home. That’s what’s going to make me the best, just shut up and do everything they ask of me. It’s just like wrestling.”
The one most obvious difference between wrestling and mixed martial arts fighting is the way in which competitors win. While wrestlers go for pins, fighters in the UFC go for knockouts.
Hendricks, though, doesn’t appear to be too worried about this new wrinkle.
“I really don’t even think about, because in wrestling you take knees to the head, split your eye open all the time,” he said. “I got a lot of cuts in wrestling, just like here. You really can’t think about that part.
“I really wanting to learn striking. Because, as long as you know how to throw a punch and not get hit, that’s the main thing. I just need to learn how to throw a punch.”
Fellow OSU wrestler Jake Rosholt signed with Team Takedown the same time Hendricks did. The pair is currently training in Las Vegas with UFC world champ Randy Couture. Hendricks said he expects to train for three to four months, before his first match.
“It’s been pretty good so far. I’m just trying to break down everything that I’ve seen and get an understanding of everything that people throw at us,” he said. “Right now, all I know is wrestling, and I know how to fend off all of those things. But it’s difficult getting out of some of these things.”
Hendricks said the main styles he’s focusing on right now are boxing and jujitsu.
“It’s all about having confidence, just like wrestling. Right now, it’s hard to have a lot, because I don’t know anything besides wrestling. But in a month, I think I’ll be about 10 times more confident. I expect my learning curve to go straight up,” he said.
“I know if I put my focus into this the way I did wrestling, I’ll be where I need to be in three or four months.”
Johny Hendricks always did have a little of the wild side in him.
VIDEO: NHL game postponed after player collapses
Monday's game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Dallas Stars was postponed after Stars forward Rich Peverley collapsed on the bench shortly after completing a shift in the first period.
North grad fuels OCU
Oklahoma City University clobbered St. Gregory’s 12-3 on Sunday at Jim Wade Stadium supported by three runs batted in by freshman Jared Baker out of Edmond North High School.
Ryan Wright, a junior from Fruitland, Idaho, drove in four runs while going 3-for-5 with a double and his first home run with OCU. The Stars, ranked fifth in NAIA baseball, improved to 14-3, 6-0 in the Sooner Athletic Conference.
Deer Creek boys make state; Bulldogs eliminated by Owasso
The Deer Creek Antlers made a run on Durant in the third quarter of a Class 5A area consolation championship game that thrusted Deer Creek into the state tournament for the first time since 1997.
The Antlers, 18-9, got up on the Lions by six points in the third and then held the ball, thus forcing Durant to come out of its zone en route to a 54-45 win.
Led by Conner Avants’ 26 points, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots, Deer Creek got some easy scores going against the Lions’ pressure in the fourth.
Antler Tyler Haddock added 16 points and five rebounds and teammate Brett Valentine contributed eight points.
UCO fights to MIAA championship; falls to Missouri Southern
A spirited postseason run came to an abrupt ending for Central Oklahoma in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Tournament finals Sunday afternoon in Kansas City, Mo.
The depth-challenged Bronchos played just six players and fatigue played a factor in the second half as Missouri Southern claimed an 84-72 victory to capture the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA Division II national tournament.
Fifth-seeded UCO, playing for the third straight day, fell to 20-10 and is doubtful to earn an at-large bid into the playoffs when the full 64-team field is announced late Sunday night. The Lions improved to 24-5.
The Bronchos led 40-39 at halftime, but missed five straight shots during a key second-half stretch when Missouri Southern stretched a 45-44 lead to double digits at 54-44 with 14:21 remaining and UCO never got closer than eight the rest of the way.
Putnam North fires back in second half
The Lady Bulldogs of Edmond Memorial kept their heart beating by downing Bartlesville 48-42 Thursday night in an area consolation contest, but the momentum came to an abrupt stop Saturday afternoon in the consolation championship at Catoosa High School. Putnam North ended Memorial’s season with a 46-31 decision.
Deer Creek loses nail-biter; Memorial boys fall to Tulsa Union
The Deer Creek Antlers were just seconds away from entering the Class 5A state tournament, but Del City’s Brett Cannon scored on a reverse layup on a back-door move with one second left to down Deer Creek 47-45 in overtime in an area championship contest at Catoosa High School.
“We’re playing really well,” Antler skipper Matt Bailey said following the nail-biter. “They got us with the last shot in overtime.”
Deer Creek will face the winner of the McAlester/Durant game Saturday at 6:30 at Sapulpa High School in the area consolation title game with a trip to the big dance on the line.
After impressive road series, OC’s Coats receives NCCAA pitching honor
Oklahoma Christian’s Shea Coats was honored Tuesday as the National Christian College Athletic Association’s softball pitching student-athlete of the week.
Coats, a freshman from Tuttle, was honored for her performance as the Lady Eagles won two of three games last weekend at Texas-Permian Basin. Coats threw a complete-game 1-hitter to lead Oklahoma Christian to a 3-0 win in the series opener, then threw two perfect innings in relief to earn the save as the Lady Eagles took the series finale 6-2.
In her nine innings of work, Coats struck out 11 batters while walking four. She currently ranks fifth in the Heartland Conference in strikeouts with 46, in 43 innings of work.
She is the first OC softball player to win a NCCAA weekly award this season.
Broncho Gibbs stacks up honors
Central Oklahoma’s Josh Gibbs was a repeat first-team selection on the All-Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Team that was released by the league office Tuesday.
The 6-5 senior forward is averaging 20.7 points, 11.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.2 steals a game .
Gibbs, who leads the league in rebounds and ranks third in scoring, has had 17 double-doubles this season. He’s also second in the MIAA in 3-pointers per game with 2.4, having made 66 treys while shooting 38.8 percent from beyond the arc.
SLIDESHOW: Lady Wolves win Area basketball title
The Edmond Santa Fe Lady Wolves won the Area basketball title with a win over Norman North at Choctaw Thursday evening.
Santa Fe thwarts Norman North offense
The Edmond Santa Fe Lady Wolves added another plaque to their collection and took one more step toward a gold ball Thursday night.
Edmond took down a feisty Norman North squad 64-47 at Choctaw High School to win the Class 6A west area tournament and advance to the state tournament that begins March 13.
“We’re going to enjoy that for tomorrow and now we’ve got to go find who we play on Saturday and we’re going to focus,” said Paul Bass, Santa Fe head coach. “It’s one game at a time. We’re 24-1, but that really doesn’t matter because now we’re in the third tournament of the year for us. This is the one that’s most important — get to state and try to get that gold ball.”
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