For the first time in six years, the UFC has a new welterweight champion in Johny Hendricks. It took Hendricks the entire five rounds to claim the vacant belt against Robbie Lawler.
An emotional Hendricks was almost speechless as he dedicated a hard fought win to his family and the fans. Many watching believed the outcome of the fight came in the fifth and final round.
"In the fifth round, I knew I had to win it and I did" said Hendricks post-fight. "This means everything to me. Thank you to you guys. Thank you [to the UFC]."
Lawler was gracious in defeat and felt Hendricks did enough to claim the title.
"[Hendricks] got a couple takedowns and fought one hell of a fight," said Lawler post-fight. "I needed to do a little bit more. He did enough to win, plain and simple."
"Bigg Rigg" thought he was robbed back at UFC 167 in November when then champion Georges St-Pierre was given a controversial split-decision victory. Once St-Pierre decided to take a leave of absence from MMA and vacate the belt, Hendricks promised to leave the champion next time he was given the opportunity.
According to Hendricks, fans should expect a rematch with Lawler in the future.
"Robbie is a tough dude, a stud," said Hendricks. "I promise I will be facing him again."
The title win is the first one for Hendricks, who is now 16-2. Lawal's three fight UFC win streak was snapped in the process.
Both fighters earned Fight of the Night honors for their performance. For complete results from UFC 171, which was an amazing card from top to bottom, click here.
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