Two days after claiming the welterweight crown, Hendricks told Ariel Helwani that he won his title fight with an injured elbow.
On Saturday night at UFC 171, Johny Hendricks met Robbie Lawler in a battle for the vacant welterweight title. The two went back and forth for the full 25 minutes, but it was Hendricks who came out on top, winning the unanimous decision. However, according to the champ, he won the strap while fighting an injury.
Hendricks detailed the nature of his injured elbow on Monday's episode of The MMA Hour (via MMA Fighting):
"Realistically, it’s my elbow," he told host Ariel Helwani. "It happened actually a week-and-a-half before, and it happened in the first round." When asked how it happened, Hendricks said the recurrence showed up in an early exchange.
"Throwing a hook," he said. "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."
"It was whenever I tried for takedowns, I could not get it," he said. When asked if the injury was severe enough that he considered dropping out of the fight, he said the idea crossed his mind.
"We thought about it," he said. "But that world championship means a lot more."
Despite the two other bouts between top welterweight on the Dallas card, Hendricks is still left with no clear challenger to his 170 lb. throne. But, with Johny not wanting to return to action until September or October, frontrunners like Tyron Woodley, Hector Lombard and even Robbie Lawler should have some time to strengthen their case.