Art often imitates life and in professional wrestling, the most real storylines are the ones that blur fiction and reality so close it’s near impossible to distinguish the truth. And that may be no more evident than in the case of Scottish indie and IMPACT Wrestling star Joe Hendry, who made a huge announcement on this week’s episode of Defiant Wrestling Loaded. Hendry came out to make an address on his future and made the bold announcement that “if CM Punk can compete in the UFC, then why can’t Joe Hendry?” He went on to suggest that maybe he should pursue a shot in Mixed Martial Arts while he’s still young and able.
In an interview with The Daily Mirror back in August, Joe Hendry mentioned that an MMA career was something he was seriously considering and that it started when he was competing in this year’s Commonwealth Games in Australia, representing Scotland in amateur wrestling. “I think that when I came back from the Commonwealth Games and before I had to really knuckle down and focus on pro wrestling, I was in talks with a few MMA organisations to actually have an MMA fight,” he told the Mirror. “I really thought that was the direction I was going to go down, but sometimes life just takes you down a different path, but it’s something I feel I have to do, something I feel I could do well at. I’ve trained with people who are in the UFC so I have a feel for the level and I feel an MMA fight is something I could work towards somewhere down the line. I’m not in any rush to do that, because I’m so busy with professional wrestling and IMPACT but it is in the back of my mind.” Shortly before the interview, Joe Hendry was actually announced as one of the co-hosts of WhatCulture‘s new MMA Channel.
While there may be a blur in the reality that Hendry is indeed retiring from pro wrestling for good – he could just be stepping away to train for a potential fight for a smaller MMA promotion – he definitely seems to have a potential MMA run on his mind, and as he stated in his Defiant speech this past week, he’s only 30 years old and still has his health, so it would be far better to try the sport now than wait until he was older. Brock Lesnar was 30 when he entered MMA from WWE (going 5-3), while Bobby Lashley was 32 (15-2), Jack Swagger will be 37, CM Punk was 38 (0-2), and Dave Bautista was 42 (1-0) – although Jack Gallagher was only 25 when he tried his hand (2-0) and Shinsuke Nakamura was 22 (3-1). But like only Lesnar, Hendry is an accomplished amateur wrestler – in the past two years, he’s won two gold medals at the British Senior Championship in two different disciplines; in freestyle wrestling (2017) and Greco-Roman (2018). And even if he does step away, he’s still got some wrestling to finish out – he’s the current reigning Fight Forever Champion in the UK.
— Joe Hendry (@joeshendry) December 10, 2018
And who knows, maybe he wasn’t joking back in the spring when he called out current UFC Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker.