Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler Will Fight for Georges St-Pierre’s Vacated Belt at UFC 171

December 13, 2013
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34-Johny-Hendricks-9313-UFC-167-w-aUFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre decided that he had issues in his personal life that he needs to deal with, thus on Friday, St-Pierre announced that he is taking unprecedented step of taking a leave of absence and relinquishing his UFC belt.

St-Pierre had no answers for how long he would be stepping away, or if it might even be a permanent move that eventually becomes his retirement.

Not wasting any time in filling the huge gap that St-Pierre leaves behind, UFC president Dana White announced that the UFC would move swiftly to put the belt around someone else’s waist.

“March 15, Dallas, Texas, Johny Hendricks will fight Robbie Lawler for the vacant UFC welterweight title,” White declared on Friday’s media call with St-Pierre.

UFC 171 is already slated to feature Jon Jones putting his light heavyweight title on the line against Glover Teixeira, and White confirmed that will remain the headliner. So the addition of Hendricks vs. Lawler makes it an extremely high profile event.

Hendricks is coming off a controversial split decision loss to St-Pierre at UFC 167 in November, so it was a given that he would be in the fight for the vacated belt.

Although Carlos Condit is currently the fighter ranked immediately behind Hendricks in the UFC’s official media rankings, White and Co. felt that Condit having already lost to St-Pierre and Hendricks, that it made more sense for Lawler, who is ranked No. 3, to fight Hendricks for the belt.

White added that he has something in the works for Condit and hopes to have Condit on the UFC 171 fight card as well, although he indicated that it wasn’t likely to be a fight between Condit and Matt Brown. A fight between Condit and Brown had been slated for this weekend’s UFC on Fox 9, but was cancelled after Brown suffered herniated discs in his back.

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  • Rob

    Smart move by White because neither Jones or Hendricks on their own are going to bring in GSP-like numbers but putting them together like that means you have a great card. A great should appeal to the fight fans.

  • Ian Price

    If not the immortal, then who else is there for Condit? I thought Rory was busy. Maia?

    • Wolf Ticket

      Well, Rory is busy fighting Maia… Maybe Ellenberger, if he’s healthy. But all the top 10 guys seem to have something scheduled right now (except for Kampmann, but that fight would make no sense). I could honestly see Condit vs Woodley as an option right now.

      • shakejunt

        probably tarec if he gets the win in singapore.

    • sidrwc

      Rory is fighting Maia next

  • bajafox

    Dana literally just tweeted right now that he mispoke.

    “Sorry I misspoke on the conf call. Hendricks vs Lawler will be main event in Dallas and Jones vs Teixeira will headline UFC 172”

  • fsunoles10

    should be an interesting fight but i have a feeling hendricks is gonna take lawler down and control em for a decision. hopefully lawler can stuff the take down so we can see a entertaining fight.

  • Jim

    Yessssssssss!!! This is the fight I want to see!!!

  • Jim

    GSP has been at the top for a long time, eventually you burn out. Hopefully he gets time to live a normal life and come back in a year or 2.

  • Jim

    I want to see nick diaz and Anderson Silva fight

  • Jay Mcgarrity

    Awesome, now things will move right along. Like I said, people were making a fuss out of nothing and needed to just relax. GSP had plenty of time to make this decision and he didn’t take any time at all. Things are going to get crazy in the WW division for a while. Who’s going to be left with the belt when the dust settles?

    • Gary Fredericks

      I agree. The current state of the WW division is a good breeding ground for the next row of potential UFC stars…which the UFC sorely needs with the bankable names retiring or fading. They have not done a remarkable job of getting these guys some exposure, especially with the vastly expanded media opportunities via FOX and the like. Now is the time for the Hendricks, Condit’s, Ellenberger’s of the company to start pouring it on with everything they have, separating themselves from the pack. It’s been great to have a GSP in the WW class and an Anderson Silva for MW and Jon Jones for LHW, but the byproduct of such dominant champs has pushed the contenders just outside of the general public’s view. By general public, I am talking people that don’t check sites like MMA Weekly every day and watch only when somebody has them over for a PPV or comes across a UFC fight while channel surfing. I still come across neophyte fans that watched UFC Unleashed and think they were watching a current fight. Just yesterday I had a guy at work telling me how Randy Couture will hold the belt for a long time after beating that tough guy with the mohawk last night! LOL

  • Timothy Malone

    This sucks because the UFC had the perfect chance for an awesome welterweight grand prix. Of course there is always the risk injuries or weird endings to a fight could ruin it so this is the safer course.

  • Hendricks is a great wrestler but Lawler is a veteran and training at ATT now has really given him the edge he needs. Minus the Diaz fight, Lawler isn’t known for being KO’d so hopefully he can keep it that way in this fight. I see that belt switching hands a few times now with the way the division is. Nobody is really better then anyone else they all have a chance at beating one another.

  • drkdisciple

    Nothing against Lawler but Condit deserves a title shot way more then him. I questioned Condit many times on this site but he proved me wrong, I think he has accomplished way more then Lawler at 170lbs.

    • Kenny Powers

      Condit just fought for the title and he already lost to Hendricks, so Lawler makes the most sense. But no matter what, if Condit wins his next fight he will get another title shot. He’s clearly the next contender.

  • Dustin Alexander

    For the record, the Jones fought will not be happening match 15 inDallas now