Johny Hendricks vs. Robbie Lawler Announced For Vacant UFC Welterweight Title
Following Georges St-Pierre’s announcement that he will vacate his UFC welterweight title, UFC President Dana White announced the organziations intentions for the championship belt: top-contender Johny Hendricks (above) will face rising welterweight star Robbie Lawler at a March 15 bout in Dallas, Texas.
By Christopher Murphy @MurphMMA
Earlier Friday, long-time UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre announced that he will be vacating the 170-lb. title. The UFC has wasted no time in setting up the fight for the next bout, as UFC President Dana White announced that Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler will be fighting for the vacant title at UFC 171 on March 15 in Dallas, Texas.
“March 15, Dallas, Texas,” Dana White announced, “Johny Hendricks will fight Robbie Lawler for the vacant title.”
Johny Hendricks was the last man to fight St-Pierre, losing a very close split decision to the champion that many fans found controversial. On that same card, Robbie Lawler upset then-number -3-ranked contender Rory MacDonald. For Dana White, those two fights made this decision simple.
“If you look at the rankings,” White said when asked why Lawler got the opportunity over number-2 contender Carlos Condit, “you got Condit and Lawler [to face Hendricks]. Condit just had a shot at the title and a shot at Hendricks… Lawler just beat the guy people wanted to fight Georges St-Pierre.”
White would go on to say that Hendricks vs. Lawler is a fight that is guaranteed to draw fireworks from both men, calling it a “Hagler-Hearns fight,” alluding to what has often been described as the greatest boxing match in history between Marvin Hagler and Thomas Hearns – a strong indication of what the UFC President expects from this welterweight title fight.
White did go on to say that he has something else in mind for Carlos Condit, and he hopes to have that bout finalized by next week. Condit was set to face Matt Brown at UFC on FOX 9 this weekend; but Brown was forced out of the bout with herniated discs in his back. White did not give any hint to Condit’s next opponent, but he did say that it would not be Brown.
As for setting up the welterweight title fight, White said both Hendricks and Lawler were excited to face one another for the title.
“Johny Hendricks went absolutely crazy,” White said, “and Robbie Lawler went as crazy as Robbie Lawler can go.”
UFC 171 will be headlined by a title fight between light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and challenger Glover Teixeira. Robbie Lawler vs. Johny Hendricks will most likely be placed as the card’s co-main event.