By Adam Martin
This Sunday in Halifax, Nova Scotia, former UFC Welterweight Champion Johny Hendricks will make the move up to middleweight for the first time in his career when he takes on Hector Lombard. Following three straight losses in the welterweight division -- against Neil Magny, Kelvin Gastelum, and Stephen Thompson -- and after missing weight for the Magny and Gastelum fights, Hendricks was forced to make the move up to 185 lbs. His body simply will not allow him to cut all the way down to 170 lbs anymore.
It's been an incredible fall from grace for Hendricks, who defeated Robbie Lawler at UFC 171 three years ago to win the vacant welterweight title following Georges St-Pierre's retirement. Hendricks rematched Lawler in his first title defense at UFC 181 and lost a controversial split decision many thought he should have won, but a dominant win over Matt Brown at UFC 185 put him right back into title contention.
It wasn't that long ago that Johny Hendricks was the top welterweight on the planet, but he hasn't looked anything like it in his last few fights. Perhaps this move to 185 pounds, where he won't be killing his body cutting weight, will be just what the doctor ordered. The fight with Lombard will be a good test to see how he stacks up against a veteran middleweight, and if Hendricks wins, it will put him in a good position to fight a top-15 middleweight next. Although he might be too short for the division, with his wrestling ability and KO power he remains an intriguing new addition to a stacked UFC middleweight division.