It's been almost a year since former welterweight champion Johny Hendricks lost his title to Robbie Lawler at UFC 181, and the Texan still hasn't had a chance to redeem himself.
"Bigg Rigg" beat Lawler in a "Fight of the Year" at UFC 171 but lost narrowly via split decision in the instant rematch. The 32-year-old campaigned hard for another rematch but the UFC had other plans for their newly crowned champion.
Lawler, a veteran of 14 years, defended his title in a nail-biting encounter against Rory MacDonald at UFC 189; Hendricks eliminated Matt Brown to cement his spot as the #1 ranked welterweight contender. Yet, despite his win over Brown, the Team Takedown fighter was shunned of his opportunity to fight for the title again. Instead, Carlos Condit will challenge "Ruthless" for the gold at UFC 195 in the New Year.
Hendricks spoke to MMA Junkie earlier today to reveal how he believes the fans are partly responsible for his relegation in the title-picture.
"It is what it is," he said. "As long as my body's healthy, I'm going to fight.
"It's not even so much the UFC's fault. It's also the fans; whenever they do a polling of the fans, they might want something different."
The NCAA Division I wrestler also believes Lawler is at fault for not settling things in a trilogy fight. According to Hendricks, the resurgent welterweight is scared of losing the belt.
"It just sucks, because I get injured (after winning the title at UFC 171), I come back, (Lawler) fights (Jake Ellenberger and Matt Brown), and you're the No. 1 guy - c'mon," Hendricks said. "I fight, I think I win. I lose, for some crazy reason, right?
"Then all of a sudden I fight somebody, he goes and fights somebody, and instead of him sitting there and saying, ‘You're the No. 1 contender,' the fear of losing the belt is what's keeping him from fighting me."
Johnny Henricks will take on #3 ranked 170-pounder Tyrone Woodley at UFC 192 on October 3rd at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. With a win over Woodley, it will be difficult for the UFC to deny Hendricks his third shot at the title.