Johny Hendricks has spent the last two years making his presence known in the welterweight division. Initially presumed to be little more than a one-dimensional wrestler, Hendricks has evolved at an alarming rate, proving doubters wrong. Dead wrong.
Of his most impressive new tools is that savage left hand that’s put down many an opponent, including quality foes in Martin Kampmann, Jon Fitch and Charlie Brenneman. There’s a power in that particular punch that most have trouble dealing with, and as a result, “Bigg Rigg” is a promotional moniker now synonymous with frighteningly violent finishes.
There aren’t going to be many men at 170 pounds eagerly lining up to test their fortitude against this man any time soon.
That massive left of his has now begun to emerge in conversations regarding Dan Henderson’s “H-Bomb.” And the comparison is indeed valid. Dan lands that right hand, it’s lights out; Johny lands that left hand, it’s lights out.
But there are glaring differences between these two fighters, despite the near carbon-copy background the two share. Henderson has been an active, top-ranked competitor for more than a decade. Johny has got less than half of the time invested and 22 fewer fights. He hasn’t yet accumulated the experience, time and fights to find complete comfort in exclusively striking.
If Hendricks gets hit with something he doesn’t particularly like, or is having little success with his fists, he’ll transition directly into a takedown. Whereas Dan Henderson isn’t befuddled by failure. If his punches aren’t finding their mark, he simply disengages, resets and once again initiates his pugilistic assault.
While it sounds as though Hendricks may be the more desperate fighter, in all likelihood he’s probably the more well-rounded of the two. Henderson has found himself somewhat stuck in a head hunting haze. He wants to knock men unconscious, whatever the cost, and he’s willing to eat plenty to deliver the only one that matters: the H-Bomb.
Hendricks has more ways to win a fight these days. He’s still versatile enough to keep opponents guessing, and his offensive wrestling is rather impressive. If those fists fail, he has other tools that he likes to fall back on.
Who’s the more dangerous man? Who’s more likely to see the fight end with his opponent sprawled, lifeless on the canvas? It’s impossible to say definitively.
What can be said is this: Johny Hendricks looks like the owner of the “Mini H-Bomb,” the not-quite-yet fully developed weapon that ends all things combat and will be near unstoppable in years to come. Dan Henderson has seen enough years and endured enough wars to know how to fully rely on that weapon, and Hendricks hasn’t.
They’re two different fighters, who by all accounts should mirror one another when competing, both with the ability to finish a fight with a single punch that resonates through the body, canvas and television at any moment. Those are punches we all feel.
Give Johny Hendricks a few more years and a few more elite opponents and he’ll likely prove that his own rendition of the H-Bomb is every bit as relevant as Dan Henderson’s original masterpiece. Until then, enjoy the further success of both.
There will be more H-Bomb knockouts in the future from both men, mark my words.
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