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OKLAHOMA CITY – Former UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks knows he’s going to be facing some monsters in the middleweight division if he hopes to continue moving up the ranks. He believes his bout with Tim Boetsch will show how he intends to handle them.

“I’m pretty excited,” Hendricks told MMAjunkie. “He is a big guy, but I think speed is going to be the dictator of this. I think that’s really what’s going to sort of help me in the 185-division, is my speed.”

Hendricks (18-6 MMA, 13-6 UFC) and Boetsch (20-11 MMA, 11-10 UFC) meet in the co-main event of Sunday’s UFC Fight Night 112 event, which takes place at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla. The main card airs on FS1 following prelims on FS2 and UFC Fight Pass.

Hendricks does own eight knockouts among his 18 career wins, including memorable highlight-reel finishes of guys like Jon Fitch, Martin Kampmann and T.J. Waldburger. But as Hendricks struggled to make weight late in his 170-pound run, his power seemed to fail.

That would seem to be a big concern as he moves up to middleweight and faces Boetsch, a true knockout artist in his own right. But Hendricks believes he’s far healthier now that he’s not depleting himself and will be able to silence some doubters on Sunday night.

“I do have heavy hands,” Hendricks said. “I can get stronger now that I’m moving up in weight, and so now, that’s really all my mindset is – is getting a little bit stronger, getting more accurate, start using the speed and power.”

It could be a recipe for disaster – or it could show the world that Hendricks is a force to be reckoned with in his new division. As “Bigg Rigg” explains it, he enjoys beating fighters at their strength – and that would mean going toe-to-toe with “The Barbarian.”

“I’ve never backed down,” Hendricks said.

To hear more from Hendricks, check out his complete media scrum from Friday’s open workout session in the video above. Or check out his workout – and fan Q&A session – in the video below.

And for more on UFC Fight Night 112, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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