Hendricks wins title, waits for next battle
Georges St-Pierre (red gloves) fights against Johny Hendricks (blue gloves) in their welterweight championship bout during UFC 167 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Nov 16, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA. (Photo: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports)
As the old cliche goes, everything is bigger in Texas, including UFC events. A reported 19,324 people packed into American Airlines Centre in Dallas for UFC 171. Johny “Bigg Rigg” Hendricks (16-2) and “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (22-10) were the main attraction as they squared off for the vacant welterweight title.
There is nothing better than seeing a championship fight that lives up to the hype. Hendricks was able to edge out Lawler in the first two rounds with some nice use of combinations, knees and leg kicks. However, the fight turned in rounds three and four when Lawler started landing some vicious punches of his own. At one point, it appeared Hendricks was hurt and the tide of momentum was turning against him. I had it all tied up going into the final championship round.
In the end it was Hendricks who had just a smidge more gas in the tank. That allowed him to finally hurt Lawler enough in order to take over the fight and end the final round with a solid takedown. It was all up to the judges, who up to that point had been pretty drunk with some of their scores throughout the night.
Hendricks earned 48-47 scores across the board, but judge Doug Crosby, who did not have a good night, issued 10-8 and 10-10 rounds to get there. Wow.
So for the first time in six years we have a new UFC welterweight champion. The question remains, who is next for Hendricks?
With a win, Carlos Condit (29-8) was supposed to be the next top contender, but unfortunately he lost after taking a leg kick from Tyrone Woodley (13-2) that ended up blowing out his knee. Hector Lombard (34-4-1-1NC) looked impressive with his dominating win over Jake Shields (29-7-1-1NC), but he still needs another fight with a top-five opponent.
When asked if there were any welterweights on the card who looked impressive enough to get a title shot, UFC president Dana White had one simple answer: “Nope.”
Rory MacDonald should be in the mix and there is a UFC event coming to Vancouver in June. However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see MacDonald fight someone else for the No. 1 contender slot. Nick Diaz? “Don’t be scared, homie.”