Nov 16, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Johny Hendricks (blue gloves) looks on between rounds of his welterweight championship bout during UFC 167 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Johny Hendricks to contenders: Keep fighting without me

Newly crowned UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks has had his fair share of fellow fighters calling him out since staking his claim to the title with a win over Robbie Lawler in the main event of UFC 171, but Hendricks is ready to offer up some advice to the potential challengers.

With so many men at the top of the division trying to establish themselves as the No. 1 contender, Hendricks wants them all to continue battling it out while he recovers from post-fight surgery on his torn bicep.

“How many people are claiming they deserve a shot at me?”  Hendricks told MMAjunkie. “I’ll be out for a little bit longer, so I would like to have them all fight one more time.”

“I’ll be out for a little bit longer, so I would like to have them all fight one more time.”

“How many people in the last year were the No. 1 contender? Just one: It was me. That’s what you work for. You don’t work to be one of the four, one of the five or one of the six guys who think they deserve it and hopefully get picked. They should fight. Then instead of picking from four, you can pick from one or two. That’s what I’m looking at.”

Hendricks claims that he is not worried about who he will fight next, but he wants to make sure it is a worthy challenger.

“I don’t care who I fight. Now that I’m at the top, I know I’m going to have to run through everybody, and that’s what I plan on doing,” he added. “Whoever the UFC thinks is the No. 1 contender, let’s fight them, get through them, and then move on to the next one.”

Hendricks should be ready to return to the octagon this fall, and by then the welterweight title picture should be more clear.

“I’m saying I’ll return anywhere from September to November. I know that’s a huge spread, but if I’m healing up quickly, which I believe I’m going to, then September is easy. Then again, I don’t want to push it too quick because if I reinjure it, I’ll be out even longer.

“I want to push myself to the limit, but I want to keep it within the doctor’s range.”

Who would you like to see Hendricks face in his first title defense? Sound off in the comments section below with your thoughts.

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