Johny-Hendricks - UFCUFC welterweight Johny Hendricks may be seen as the division’s #1 contender coming into tonight’s lineup at UFC 158 but he won’t have an easy time holding on to the tag thanks to a tough tilt against Carlos Condit in the evening’s co-headliner. Hendricks received Condit as an opponent after Rory MacDonald backed out of a match-up with the “Natural Born Killer”, eagerly accepting the challenge even without a full camp to prepare.

Hendricks elaborated on his rationale in an interview with Fuel TV after weighing in for the bout, saying any thoughts he might have of a title-reign are meaningless if he lacks the ability to beat an adversary like Condit while also pointing to some of the problems his foe poses.

“Carlos Condit, he’s a great fighter. If I don’t get through him then none of this matters,” said Hendricks flatly after being asked about his second-tier status at the event.

In terms of preparing for the fight, Hendricks said he was forced to switch his camp up to deal with the Condit’s polished attack rather than the less-technical approach taken by his original draw at the event (Jake Ellenberger). Though some might see it as an annoyance, the former All-American wrestler enjoys the added pressure.

“I had to really focus on stand-up and also the jiu-jitsu aspect, where if I take down Jake Ellenberger his jiu-jitsu isn’t near Carlos Condit’s,” explained the bearded brawler. “If I’m getting beat on my feet, I could take Jake Ellenberger down and advance. Well, if that happens with Carlos Condit, just because you take him down that might hurt you some. So that’s what makes this fight exciting for me, and are my skills as good as I think they are.”

The 14-1 Hendricks has notched nine victories inside the Octagon such as those over Amir Sadollah, T.J. Grant, Josh Koscheck, Jon Fitch, and Martin Kampmann. Meanwhile, Condit’s 26 stoppages in 28 total wins is one of the most impressive finishing percentages of anyone in the UFC.

The full interview can be seen below: