Johny Hendricks is set to face the resurging Robbie Lawler at UFC 171, for the welterweight championship left vacant by estranged marquee fighter Georges St-Pierre. The March 15 event will also feature a very interesting match up between Carlos Condit and Tyron Woodley.
Woodley has proven to be a formidable force since joining the UFC in 2013; scoring knockout wins over Josh Koscheck and Jay Heiron during his tenure. ‘The Natural Born Killer’ has been hovering at the top of the stacked division for a very long time, and will look to solidify his position as number one contender with a win over ‘The Chosen One’.
Hendricks stopped by with MMAJunkie.com, to discuss the fight between Condit and Woodley at 171:
“If I win this fight, it’s going to be between one of them two, Carlos is always a tough opponent; same thing with Woodley,” Hendricks said. “Those two, they’re fighting the same night. But a fight’s a fight. You never know what’s going to happen. You just have to say whoever wants to come after you, let them come at you, and you move forward from that.”
‘Bigg Rigg’ faces a tough enough challenge as he squares off against KO artist Robbie Lawler next Saturday, but the challenges will only get bigger should he win. The 170-pound division has long been talked of as the most talent deep in the promotion.
One such talent that has been calling for yet another title shot is Nick Diaz, although Hendricks has his own opinion on the ‘Stockton Bad Boy’:
“Realistically, I think he needs to fight a couple of times. What is he, 0-2 in his last few fights? It is what it is, but if the UFC said, ‘Hey Johny, you’ve got to fight him,’ well guess what? I’m not going to say no.”
“His stock is always high,” Hendricks said of the retired fighter. “He’s a great fighter, but if he beats up one or two people, then yeah. He’s earned it.”
Diaz, in my eyes, is not the rightful contender to the shot, although that didn’t stop the UFC pairing him with Georges St-Pierre back when Hendricks was the number one contender. I think that Dana White may have learned his lesson from that faux pas, but you never know.
It seems much more likely that the winner of the title at 171 will square off against the winner of Condit vs. Woodley. That being said, combat sports are very unpredictable in every sense. We’ll know a lot more after UFC 171 goes down, that’s for sure.