After spending the majority of the year on the sidelines nursing a bicep injury, Johny Hendricks is relieved to be getting a second title fight in 2014
Considering the UFC 181 fight card was initially supposed to feature a main event between Chris Weidman and Vitor Belfort, Hendricks was likely going to wait until February 2015 to fight had he not been offered the spot as a replacement for the middleweight title fight. While he was surprised to get the call, he informed MMAFighting.com's Ariel Helwani that he was fully cleared to return to regular training.
"The doctor cleared me about three weeks prior to that." Hendricks revealed at Thursday's UFC 181 media day.
After winning the title, Henricks was awarded with a seven-month spell on the sidelines to rehabilitate his injuries and undergo a surgical procedure. While he was initially disappointed with his lack of activity as a new champion in the division, Hendricks eventually considered it to be a blessing.
"It was very tough, but was also a blessing in disguise. I actually got to take some time to let other things heal - other parts of my body that were injured. It also let me spend some family time. It was a huge blessing."
Against Lawler, Hendricks knows he is in for a tough fight, but is also adamant that it could make for an entirely different fight since he is not injured this time around.
"I had a serious injury then. It can be a totally different fight. I also gotta (sic) think that he's gonna (sic) come in a little different too. With that being said, I have to make sure that I'm prepared for that 25-minutes war again, because if I go in with that kind of attitude, it could hurt me."