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Tuesday, 12/17/2013, 06:30 am

Johny Hendricks: I Want That Target On My Back

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After the long-time UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre decided to relinquish his title and walk away from the sport for the forseeable future, Dana White and the UFC set up a fight between Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler for the vacant title, which will take place at UFC 171.

Hendricks went on to Ariel Helwani’s “The MMA Hour” to discuss his reaction to the fight announcement.

“[I'm] super-excited,” Hendricks said. “Who wouldn’t be? You’re sitting there and doing stuff and you find out that you’re going to fighting Dallas, your own backyard…you find out you’ll be fighting a very tough opponent, Robbie Lawler.”

“Who wouldn’t be excited for that? I know the fans are. I’ve seen some posts that the fans are very excited for this fight, and I am too,” he said. “This is going to be a great fight. This is going to be a fight for the fans and I can’t wait.”

Because Hendricks came so close to becoming champion, he is now the man to beat in the welterweight division. He said he embraces the added pressure and that it will only make him train harder.

“I want the target on my back,” he said. “I want everybody to come after me. That’s been my goal since I started fighting.”

“I want the gold and I want everybody to sit there saying, ‘I want to beat that guy.’ And that’s been my whole thought process through this whole time,” Hendricks said. “For some reason I enjoy that kind of pressure. The more pressure you can put on me and get me out of my comfort zone, the better I shine. And that’s what I wanted.”

UFC 171 takes place March 15 in Dallas.

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