Steven Wright, the striking trainer at Team Takedown, joined Patrick Wyman and myself to discuss the upcoming rematch between his protege, Johny Hendricks, and Robbie Lawler, which headlines UFC 181 next Saturday, December 6th.
Prior to his controversial bout with former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, Hendricks was probably best known for his series of devastating knockouts, and the heavy left hand that created them. Despite his natural power, Wright is adamant about fighting smart and winning the fight, no matter what. “You can’t plan on a KO. Everything we do is geared towards winning the round,” Wright says. “If you send somebody out there saying ‘score this and it’s gonna be a KO,’ and it’s not a KO? It’s like you leave them in no man’s land.”
Wright says that, without this approach, Hendricks could’ve wound up like Rousimar Palhares, a fighter known for two things: his leglocks, and falling apart when his leglocks fail.
When asked about his training approach, Wright has what he calls “belief in the violence.” That’s not altogether surprising coming from the man behind one of the most devastating knockout artists in the UFC. Because of his training, Wright thinks that Hendricks is now unafraid “of staying in the pocket.”
In their first bout at UFC 171, Hendricks and Lawler spent nearly the entire fight standing toe-to-toe, exchanging devastating punches, each man vying to overcome the other with close-range defense and counter punches. It was the kind of bout normally only seen in boxing, but to Wright, that kind of fight is the goal. “If you have the vision,” Wright says, “You don’t have to worry about the small gloves.”
For the rest of this interview, just listen to episode 28 of Heavy Hands, the only podcast dedicated to understanding the finer points of face-punching. You can find the embed below, and the show can also be found on Stitcher, iTunes, and our website, HeavyHandsPodcast.com.
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