Johny Hendricks had been set to rematch Robbie Lawler for a second time to try and get the UFC welterweight belt back, but when Lawler went on hiatus, Hendricks quickly accepted a fight against Matt Brown on his home turf in Dallas.
With Hendricks ranked No. 1 in the UFC welterweight division and Brown at No. 5 coming into this fight, it was a no-brainer that the winner would get the next shot at the belt after Lawler puts it up against Rory MacDonald this summer.
“The winner is obviously next in line for a title shot,” UFC president Dana White confirmed on Saturday.
And Hendricks fought like it.
Brown defended well from his back in the opening round, but as time wore on, Hendricks found more and more openings for his elbows and punches. He kept it up, looking extremely sharp in round two and the early part of round three.
In a last ditch effort, Brown went after several submission attempts in the waning moments of the fight, but Hendricks was too savvy and too slippery for Brown to lock anything down.
Hendricks’ numerous takedowns and ground-and-pound attack was relentless. The judges saw it the same way, awarding Hendricks a unanimous decision.
Hendricks, however, was not satisfied with his performance.
“That wasn’t a good fight. I just can’t figure it out. I couldn’t finish,” he told UFC interviewer Joe Rogan. “I’m gonna go back and figure it out. I want perfect.”
He may not have been perfect to his own standards, but Hendricks should now be next up for the winner of Lawler vs. MacDonald when they meet in July. That’s what Hendricks is focused on now.
“That title is mine. I don’t care who wins. I’ll fight either one of them.”
(Follow @KenPishna on Twitter)