When UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler and Rory MacDonald delivered a Fight of the Year candidate at UFC 189, no one was watching closer than Lawler's championship predecessor Johny Hendricks. Last year, the Texan spent ten rounds together in the cage with Lawler, and ultimately lost his belt in a razor thin split decision.
Now, after a win over Matt Brown, Hendricks is in revenge mode and wants to take what he thinks is rightfully his. He doesn't have the nerve to be impressed by Lawler's latest performance.
"You look at that fight and you think, yeah, [Lawler] did a good job, but again, I want my belt back," he told MMA Fighting. "Whenever I look at that fight that's all I can think about."
Lawler vs. MacDonald has been one of the most brutal fights in recent memory and had both fighters busting each other up with hard punches and kicks. McDonald's nose and foot got broken in the process, Lawlers upper lip suffered a dreadful gash. Neither of the fights between Lawler and Hendricks have been that bloody, but their first encounter has been considered Fight of the Year by fans and pundits alike. That's why, after 50 minutes in the cage with him, the sheer brutality of Lawler's last fight doesn't faze Hendricks much.
"I've been in two fights with [Lawler], and it's turned out well, you know what I mean?" he said. "If he wants to get into that kind of battle, there are other ways around that. I know that. I've been in there with him. So, to sit there and think that it's going to be a bloody war, you never know until the moment comes. Does that make sense? But when the moment comes, you either rise up to it or you fold."
A trilogy fight against Hendricks sounds like the most likely option for Lawler right now, who currently recovers from his crazy battle. However, other option's are being talked about. Guys like Tyron Woodley or former interim champion Carlos Condit also want their shots at the belt. But Hendricks feels, he makes the most sense as the next challenger for the welterweight title. It's the one thing that has to happen, before him and Lawler can part ways for good.
"It's just that I want the title, and that's the only play that makes sense, is me and Robbie III. Realistically, that's all that makes sense. Then, because right now we're 1-1, boom, win or lose, then we can move on and start venturing out there and leading different chapters."