Johny Hendricks: Robbie Lawler Is More Like Me, This Will Be A Great Fight


There were millions who thought that Johny Hendricks should have walked out of UFC 167 as new welterweight champion, including “Bigg Rigg” himself. But instead of dwelling on his controversial split decision loss to Georges St. Pierre, Hendricks chose to accept the outcome, vowing not to leave his next title in the hands of the judges.

And his next opportunity soon arose. Last Friday GSP walked away from the UFC, vacating the belt and creating the need for a new titleholder. Hendricks was the obvious choice for half of it, and while many thought Carlos Condit would comprise the other half, ultimately the surging Robbie Lawler got the nod at UFC 171 in Dallas.

Ever the calm and collected fighter, Hendricks is just rolling with the proverbial punches amidst a strange scenario. “Bigg Rigg” appeared on today’s “The MMA Hour” to detail his reaction when he found out about GSP’s decision:

“Actually Dana White he called me and sort of broke the news. I was in Disney World. I told him, I don’t care about GSP, I believe I beat him, and so does the world, so I was just like, ‘thank you Dana White. Give me another shot about the belt.’ I told him thank you so much for believing in me. I was super excited, who wouldn’t be? You’re fighting in Dallas, your own background. This is going to be a great fight. It’s going to be a fight for the fans, and I can’t wait.”

Hendricks is understandably pumped up about fighting in Texas. The Oklahoma native also touched on his lack of surprise when he heard that GPS left:

“You know, he knew he was gonna have to fight me again, and that might not even be it. He’s done some great things in this sport; he’s done what he wanted to do. And I don’t blame him for leaving. But this whole time, I wasn’t fighting GSP; I was fighting myself. I want that belt more than anything.”

Ariel Helwani asked Hendricks if he thought GSP would have stepped away had he beaten “Bigg Rigg” more clearly:

“I think he was still out of it (at the press conference). And that’s the thing; I didn’t really hit him that great. You know, now you got out, you won the fight (to the judges); why not go out on top? You just don’t know what the future is going to hold. My goal is to get that belt and hold onto it as long as I can.”

There’s not much doubt that Hendricks is at the top of a stacked 170-pound division, at least for the time being. Lawler has been an absolute wrecking ball in his return to the UFC, knocking out Josh Koscheck and Bobby Voelker and edging Rory MacDonald via decision inside of a year. “Ruthless” looks reinvented at welterweight, and Hendricks knows he presents a much different challenge than GSP:

“Robbie Lawler is more like me. Standup guy who just wants to knock your head off. And that sort of makes me excited. GSP’s a guy that you have to be concerned with how you do your takedowns, positioning, there’s so many things that go into winning against GSP. He (Lawler) has thrown up some great wins; he’s a great fighter. We both have power, and we both like to use it. I like fighting against fellow southpaws. It makes it easier to do a couple of things. We hope we can find those kind of gaps in Robbie Lawler.”

Hendricks is the new man of the hour at welterweight after the longtime king stepped down. The difference is he doesn’t have the belt quite yet. Most will deem him the early favorite over Lawler but anything can happen when “Ruthless” steps into the cage. This bout has the potential for some big fireworks.

Will Hendricks emerge from the American Airlines center with the belt he feels is rightfully his?

Photo Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie for USA TODAY Sports

  • Johny…you have one chance in this fight and that's to take Robbie off of his feet for 25 minutes.

    If he thinks he's got the chops to stand and trade with Robbie Lawler he's wrong.

    To be blunt, I don't think he has to technical still to hang with Condit, MacDonald, Brown, Diaz and Woodley. And he'd be lost against Lombard. These are all fighters that's he going to have to take down. And even in that, the best he can hope for is some punches and elbows; none of them would have anything to fear from Hendricks non-existent submission's game.

    As to him continuing to yammer on about GSP, that fight, "his win", how he he "didn't hit him that great", how he only went 70%, how his hands hurt and that they were poorly wrapped, how the judges got it wrong and how the "world" believes he beat Rush…I'm freaking sick of it, man. Change the record.

    Bigg Rigg should really just put all of that down and focus on what's in front of him. It's tedious and demonstrates an ego. Rush never went on about his loss to Matt Serra. Never made a big deal about the fact that his cousin died just prior to the fight and that it weighed on him going into the fight. He didn't go on about how Serra got lucky clipping him behind the ear..blah, blah, blah. He just accepted it and worked his way back to a title shot and the mauling he delivered to Serra. He showed class.

    I know one thing for sure, he's not winning over any of GSP's fans with this rhetoric and I think I can safely say on behalf of most, if not all…I hope Lawler stops all over him. And if Hendricks wins and he has to do it by laying on Ruthless for 25 minutes, I'm going to laugh my *** off.

    And if it turns out that way, then all of Rush's fans should hit Bigg Rigg up on Twitter with a "nice lay 'n pray performance, champ. Sadly, you're no Rush."

    • Agree with everything, i'm tired of his arrogance about GSP. You lost and that's the end of it. If your arrogant enough to keep talking about the fight like you won, you shouldn't be champion. I hope Lawler wins, but ultimately I want to see Condit on top. I feel like he has the best overall game, he's exciting, and he's a smart, humble and overall pleasant guy. Hendricks annoys me

      • Magic, I think most of Rush's fans are probably pulling for Condit to take the title and for all the reasons you cite.

        For a long time I thought to myself, that if Rush had to lose the belt I'd want it to be Condit to replace him. He's an awesome fighter and as you say, he's a humble, down-to-earth guy, family man, with no ego. He's great. I'd have no problem supporting him. To be honest, it was a drag when Rush and Condit fought. It was like a parent trying to pick one child over another. As I've supported Rush throughout his career, I rooted for GSP, but if Condit had finished him in the third round of their fight, I would have been fine with it. And my guess is most of Rush's fans would have been fine with it, too. Again, he's a great guy, a class act and he would make an awesome champion.

    • @Brian Cox – Dayum Dude… You want to write a book? I got whip-lash reading your post!

      • DJ, I thank you for reading my book.

  • @ BCox, i dont think he gives a flying f*ck about a GSP fan. Calm down dogg.

    • Hate, my comments weren't predicated on Bigg Rigg giving a "F" about what GSP fans think. To be honest, I'm quite sure he doesn't care, but nonetheless it doesn't change how Rush's fans are apt to feel about him. And I stick by the contention that the bulk of them will be cheering on Lawler in the fight.

      • LAWLER LAWLER…oh wait.

  • The 1 GSP fan who admits the fight could have gone either way will be the first…All im saying.

    • Hate, when the fight is referred to as close, is that not the same thing, as saying that it could have gone either way?

      If not, then let me, as a GSP fan, be the first…it could have gone either way and if the judges had awarded it to Hendricks I wouldn't have complained.

      Personally, I'm looking for the one Hendricks fan that will simply say, John lost, he failed to KO him, as promised, he left it in the hands of the judges and that he's offered up too many excuses post the loss.

      If he'd just said, I thought I did enough to win, I'll get him next time and dropped it, that would have been cool. However, he's been running around like he's the uncrowned champ and he's not.

      And of course, Condit fans would be chomping on the bit to throw their two cents into the debate and tell you Hendricks lost that fight. As a matter of fact, Josh Koscheck's might want to complain about his split decision loss to Bigg Rigg.

      As Johny got possibly got away with two wins handed to him by the judges, he shouldn't be complaining about the one he didn't get.

      …Just saying.

      My guess Hate…Bigg Rigg is going to turn out to be a huge lay and pray artist now that he has to fight the top guys and as he demonstrated in the Condit fight. Personally, I find it all funny. White wouldn't sign Ben Askren, who is 12 & 0, with his last two wins coming by way of T/KO, but he's happy to have Hendricks fight for the title, who is coming off of a loss and a decision victory, where he had to take the guy down and avoid submission attempts to win. Sorry, but I find it all very ironic.

      Anyway, we'll have a new champ on the 15th of March and that's all that really matters. Personally, I think the belt will exchange hands a number of times over the next several fights. I don't think we'll see a long reigning champion in that division for a while.

      Enjoy the fight when it happens, Hate. May the best man win.

      • I think Condit is probably the only fighter who could put on a run with the belt. His all round game is world class and against Hendricks he clearly won but as often happens a takedown counts for everything and actually hitting and hurting your opponent counts for zilch.

      • Welterweight will be like light heavyweight before Jones, in the days of Machida, Evans, Shogun, Rampage etc.

        • Yeah, I'd go along with that analogy Magic.

    • lol. Not sure where I stand there since I didnt give a siht who won.

  • I think Hendricks is more than a match for Lawler. I think Condit isn my favorite 170er but If Hendricks keeps his game like he did against Rush he may very well hold onto that belt. I think Stylistically Hendricks worst nightmare will be Lombard, But can Hector get there?

    • Lombard on his feet could well be the new champ. He's a beast at 170. And Hendricks is more than a match for Lawler, but probably not on the feet. I could easily see how Bigg Rigg could take the belt by taking him down, but I can also see how Robbie can KO his *** on the feet.

      Condit, I can see how Carlos can beat them all and then there's Brown and MacDonald and Diaz. Truly, these are great times in the WW division.

      • I hope Carlos can find a way. I don't see Rory, Diaz or Robbie getting it done. Lombard has great TDD and can probably out strike anyone. Carlos most well rounded for sure but may be on his back against the Rigg. It should be a good few battles in the top.