Do you want to know what it looks like when a fighter's heart breaks? If you do, watch the replay of UFC 167's main event. Not the entire 25-minute fight, you just need to find the moment when Bruce Buffer stands in the Octagon and after reading the split decision scorecards says, "For the winner, aaaaaaaand still..." When Johny Hendricks hears that and drops to his knees, that's what it looks like when a fighter's heart breaks.
Hendricks thought he had that fight won. He thought that he had captured the UFC welterweight title, ending the long reign of Georges St-Pierre. Instead, St-Pierre retained the title, only to announce moments later that he needed to take some time away from the sport.
After the fight, Hendricks said, "I'll get that belt, it's mine."
That belt currently has no owner. When St-Pierre decided to officially step away, he relinquished the title. On Saturday, Hendricks will get his chance to claim the belt he thinks should already be his when he faces Robbie Lawler in the main event of UFC 171.
Hendricks recently took part in a media call for that fight, and said that he feels Lawler will be a more dangerous and unpredictable opponent than St-Pierre was, "With Georges you know he was going to throw a jab, a high kick, a low kick and try and take you down," Hendricks said. "Robbie, if you make a mistake, we've seen that he can knock you out. We've seen that time and time again. So, you really have to make sure that you stay focused and stay solid, and that's a lot more dangerous fight."
If Hendricks ends Lawler's three-fight unbeaten on Saturday night, he'll most likely hear some fans telling him that he's not the true UFC welterweight champion until he faces St-Pierre and defeats him. When that happens, don't expect Hendricks to worry all that much about those naysayers, "It was never about Georges, " Hendricks said, "It was always about the belt, the belt means everything."
If Hendricks walks out of American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX with the belt strapped around his waist expect his focus to be on what's ahead of him, and not St-Pierre and the past, "I can't think backwards, I have to think forward," remarked Hendricks. "Look at our division, it's a pretty stacked division. Now that Georges has walked away, now it's time for one of us to make our own mark."
On Saturday, Hendricks will look to be the one to make his mark and become the next UFC welterweight champion.