Steven Wright: 'People don't realize how good Johny Hendricks is'


BE's Connor Ruebusch interviews Steven Wright, the striking coach of newly crowned welterweight champion Johny Hendricks. Steven talks about his own martial arts background, the training he's done with Johny, and what makes his student a true champion.

Johny Hendricks deserves all of the recognition he's gotten for his tremendous win over Robbie Lawler in an instant classic title fight, but it's always nice to spread the praise to the men behind the curtain. Steven Wright is Johny's striking coach, and therefore the man to blame for Hendricks' improved defense, combination punching, and kicking game, all of which were crucial in defeating Lawler. I was lucky enough to talk to Steven about his time with Team Takedown and training the new welterweight champion.

It was a long and winding road to where he is today. Wright's story includes such names as former UFC middleweight champion Dave Menne, star trainer and former champion kickboxer Duke Roufus, Glory heavyweight champion Tyrone Spong, and the ever-controversial Mo Lawal. After this long journey, Steven says that it was coincidence that brought him to Team Takedown, where he specializes in teaching wrestlers how to kickbox.

Team Takedown, with Marc Laimon, called [King Mo] and said, "Will you work with our guys?" Mo is a huge film student, travels to get himself better--a real student of the game. [Laimon] wanted him around the Team Takedown fighters. So Mo came down, worked with the guys for a work, and then afterwards Marc goes, "Man, we really need a striking coach. . . is there any way you know of a striking coach?" And Mo said, "There's my guy Steven in Minneapolis.

Must Reads

Technique Recap: How to Take a Punch

Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler set an all-time record for strikes landed in a title fight, so how on earth did they stay standing? BE's striking specialist Connor Ruebusch examines UFC 171 and the science behind successfully taking a shot.

Pivotal Moments: Hendricks vs. Lawler part 2

BE's striking specialist Connor Ruebusch takes a different look at the main event of UFC 171, breaking down the key moments of the five round battle of grit and wits between Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler.

Must Reads

After being convinced to move from Minnesota to Arlington, Texas, Wright became the new head striking coach for Team Takedown, just before Hendricks' fight with Mike Pierce.

He trains Hendricks to beat "the best versions" of his opponents by studying their footage and picking out their absolute best performances as game-planning guides. Wright added that his upmost goal is to make opponents pay whenever they move. That, he believes, is the reason that Saturday's main event was contested at such an unusually close range and relentless pace.

There's a reason why Johny and Robbie Lawler stayed in the pocket for 25 minutes the other day: because both guys are comfortable there. But that's where I teach. That's where I want him. I feel the best guys in the world--your Jose Aldos, your Anderson Silvas--those guys can stand right in front of you. . . everything you do is wrong when you're standing in front of them.

The result of that training was an incredible fight, and a brand new belt around Hendricks' waist. Still, Wright is modest, asserting that the grit and determination Hendricks showed had nothing to do with him.

There is a place that athletes go that coaches can't follow. . . It's that place where the athletes just take over and [say]: "I am not losing today." It is the most beautiful [thing] in the combat world when someone says that.

Wright said that his response to criticism of Hendricks' striking as limited after his string of knockout wins was an emphatic "thank you." He continued, "People don't realize how good he is, so when he gets the opportunity to show it, it'll be too late. We'll be champion of the world by then."

Of course, Hendricks isn't Wright's only student. He also revealed that he trained Rashid Magomedov for the former M-1 champ's UFC debut, and sharpened up Kelvin Gastelum's striking for his impressive win over Rick Story, which seemed a sure bet for UFC 171's fight of the night before Hendricks and Lawler stole the show. Wright also trains Jared Rosholt, one of the few heavyweight prospects in the UFC, who has an upcoming fight against Daniel Omielanczuk on April 11th. Wright believes that his fighter has some distinct advantages, and promises that we'll see a happy Jared Rosholt come April.

For more interviews like this, as well as in-depth fight analysis, check out the homepage of Heavy Hands, the only podcast dedicated to the finer points of face punching.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

  • 13 days ago
  • 18 views

One FC welterweight champion Ben Askren explains the reasons behind the rivalry with Johny Hendricks. Though they currently champion different organizations, Ben Askren has never been a fan of Johny read news >>

  • 5 days ago
  • 17 views

First there was Matt Hughes, who had two stints as the UFC's welterweight champion for a total of 1,577 days. He clobbered opponent after opponent as he became the first great welterweight champion o read news >>

  • 4 days ago
  • 1 views

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight kingpin Johny Hendricks is "about 85 percent" healthy following bicep surgery last spring, and "Bigg Rigg" is expected to put his 170-pound title on read news >>

  • 20 days ago
  • 25 views

OSU in the house! After Kenny Monday was relieved of his duties as head wrestling coach for the Blackzilians mixed martial arts (MMA) camp three months ago, the former Olympic gold medalist has lande read news >>

  • 14 days ago
  • 95 views

Ben Askren's rivalry with Johny Hendricks runs as deep as any college sports rivalry worth its salt. In this case, Askren wore the singlet of the University of Missouri, while Hendricks wrestled for read news >>

  • 13 days ago
  • 616 views

Why is Ben Askren so miffed at Johny Hendricks? It dates back to his days as a college wrestler, when his then-teammate and current fellow mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Tyron Woodley (Missouri) wa read news >>

  • 4 days ago
  • 9 views

According to his manager Ted Ehrhardt, UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks is ready to be booked in a rematch against No. 1 contender Robbie Lawler. Hendricks underwent surgery to repair a torn read news >>

  • 4 days ago
  • 2 views

As we speak, Johny Hendricks is about a month into his fight camp. Never mind that the UFC welterweight champion doesn’t yet officially have an opponent for the first defense of his title. Never mind read news >>

  • 4 days ago
  • 1 views

Saying he's 85% recovered from surgery for a torn bicep, the Welterweight champ isn't planning on fighting again until 2015. Johny Hendricks claimed the vacant UFC Welterweight belt by beating Robbie read news >>