At UFC 171 in March, welterweight Johny Hendricks will have his second opportunity to win UFC gold. With former champ Georges St-Pierre having vacated the title after getting the nod in their split decision at UFC 167, Hendricks will be facing heavy hitter "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler on March 15 in Dallas, TX.
Although somewhat inconsistent through his MMA career, Lawler became a fan favorite for his exciting style highlighted by devastating punching power. In 22 career wins, he's finished 18 of them by KO or TKO. Since coming to the UFC in 2013 following the folding of Strikeforce, Lawler knocked out 2 of his 3 UFC opponents. In a live chat with Dallas News, a fan asked Johny Hendricks how he plans to deal with Lawler's knockout power. Hendricks responded:
There are couple signs he does that whenever he is going to load up on the power. I've watched a couple of his fights so far, you can tell when he is going for the kill. When he gives those signs I can do some things to prevent that from happening. I am not going to give away my secrets, but there are ways to prevent that.
Hendricks said he has no regrets about fighting for a vacant title rather than taking it from St-Pierre, "It was never about GSP, it was about the belt." For now, he's solely focused on his next challenge in Lawler.
Although, he's currently got his sights set on his next opponent, Hendricks still has a long term plan. After being called a smaller welterweight, Hendricks scoffered saying he's "thicker than everyone" and cuts down from 220 lbs. He has no intention of ever heading to a lower division. Moving up in weight is a different story:
Yes, once I can get through my weight class, I would love to retire at 185. I definitely don't want to go down a weight class.
Prior to any changing of divisions, Hendricks has a ways to go before he "gets through" the welterweight class. First, he'll have to beat Lawler at UFC 171 at the American Airlines Arena in Dallas, TX.