This weekend the UFC will enter a new era at Welterweight as Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler battle for the vacant UFC Welterweight title at UFC 171. This will be the first time in nearly eight years that the undisputed Welterweight title will be on the line without Georges St-Pierre fighting for the belt. St-Pierre vacated his title and took a leave of absence from the sport after his November bout with Johny Hendricks at UFC 167.
In preparation of the title fight this weekend, I will be counting down Johny Hendricks’ top 5 moments in his MMA career.
5. UFC debut against Amir Sadollah: This bout was supposed to be the coming out party for Amir Sadollah. Sadollah, the TUF season 7 Welterweight winner, battled back from two straight injuries to take on UFC debuter, Johny Hendricks at UFC 101. Hendricks was billed as a fantastic wrestler and grinder, so no one could have expected the outcome. Just 29 seconds into the bout, Hendricks knocked out Sadollah with a brutal series of uppercuts. The win was just a glimpse of what was to come from Hendricks and showed he was far more than just a great wrestler.
4. Knocking out Martin Kampmann: Johny Hendricks was on a roll going into his UFC 154 bout against former training partner, Martin Kampmann; Hendricks had won four straight, boosting his UFC record to 8-1. Kampmann was on a winning streak of his own, having won three in a row. In the end, it only took Hendricks 46 seconds to send Martin Kampmann careening to the mat unconscious with a huge straight left. To put the cherry on top, Hendricks stated in his post fight interview with Joe Rogan that he only started hitting the fight ending combination a week prior.
3. Defeating Carlos Condit: Unbelievably, after five straight wins Hendricks was passed over for the UFC title shot at UFC 158 in favor of the returning Nick Diaz. Instead, Hendricks fought the former interim UFC Welterweight champion, Carlos Condit, in the co-main event to determine the #1 contender at Welterweight. After a hard fought and incredibly exciting three round war, Hendricks was given the unanimous decision victory along with the sole possession of #1 contendership to the Welterweight title.
2. UFC 167 title fight against Georges St-Pierre: The only reason this moment is #2 on this list is because Hendricks lost the fight. At UFC 167, Hendricks was finally given his well deserved title shot against long time champion, Georges St-Pierre. Hendricks fought valiantly through five rounds, brutalizing the champion at every turn. In the end, most believed that Hendricks would walk away the new Welterweight champion, but the judges thought otherwise. Even though Hendricks lost the bout, his stock had never been higher. Hendricks will get his second crack at UFC gold this weekend.
1. Knocking out Jon Fitch: Hendricks came into his UFC 141 bout against Jon Fitch with a 6-1 UFC record, including three jaw dropping KO’s. The only warranted criticism at the time for Hendricks was his seemingly weak competition thus far. That criticism immediately dissipated after Hendricks knocked out the former title challenger Fitch in just 12 seconds. The win once again highlighted Hendricks’ ridiculous knockout power and sent a statement to the entire Welterweight division that Hendricks is a very legit contender.