What a rollercoaster ride it has been for the new UFC Welterweight champion, Johny Hendricks. This past weekend, at UFC 171, Johny Hendricks finally accomplished his goal of becoming a UFC champion by defeating Robbie Lawler.
It was a long and hard road for Johny to become champion. After five straight victories inside the Octagon, Johny Hendricks was passed over for a UFC title shot at UFC 158 in favor of the returning Nick Diaz. Diaz, who had not fought in over a year, was also coming off a loss when he was given the shot over Hendricks. Even with the odds stacked against him, Hendricks chose not to sit out, but instead faced off against former interim UFC Welterweight champion, Carlos Condit at UFC 158.
After defeating Condit in one of the best fights of the year, Hendricks was finally given his well deserved title shot against long time champion Georges St-Pierre at UFC 167. 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.
After GSP vacated the title, the UFC gave Hendricks another shot this past weekend against Robbie Lawler. Before even stepping in the cage on Saturday night, Hendricks weighed in too heavy for his Welterweight title bout. It was yet another setback in a long run of frustrating circumstances.In the end, Hendricks made weight, and was able to secure the title on Saturday night.
Today, Hendricks went on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Hour to discuss an elbow injury he incurred prior to the fight that almost forced him out of the bout, and how the injury got worse during the fight (Courtesy of MMAFighting):
It happened actually a week-and-a-half before, and it happened in the first round throwing a hook. And whenever I threw a hook it just spazzed out. I don’t know what happened. I felt my arm actually pop. We’ll see what happens.
I was pretty hurt, I’m not going to lie, [Lawler] hit me pretty good. The third round was bad enough that in the fourth round he was still able to do it. There were a couple of punches where I thought, I really need to throw back. Because [I thought] if I let him get a couple more of these in, yeah, it could be over. But I told myself, hey, just fire back. Just fire back. Calm down. And when I told myself that I was able to start landing some of my own punches.
When asked by Helwani if the injury almost forced him out of the fight, Hendricks had this to say:
We thought about it, but that world championship means a lot more.
A poignant statement from the newly minted Welterweight champion. Hendricks said that he would be getting his elbow evaluated shortly, and would like to return in September or October.