New UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks won’t be wearing his belt around town, and he’s definitely not going to sleep with it.
Instead, he’s taking it to the bank – literally.
“I’m going to put it in a vault,” Hendricks today told MMAjunkie Radio. “It’s going to be locked away.”
Hendricks (16-2 MMA, 11-2 UFC) and Robbie Lawler (22-10 MMA, 7-4 UFC) drew just shy of 20,000 reported fans to watch a new champ crowned at Dallas’ American Airlines Center. In this past Saturday’s UFC 171 pay-per-view headliner, the pair fought for a belt left vacant by the semi-retirement of Georges St-Pierre.
Hendricks said he’ll celebrate his narrow win for a few more days. But very soon, the biggest reminder of his biggest accomplishment is going away until he can defend his title a couple more times.
“I want a couple more before I can be happy with the performance that I’ve given,” Hendricks said.
Of course, apart from Lawler, who lost three of five rounds on two judges’ scorecards (the final tallies were unanimously 48-47 for Hendricks), you’d be hard pressed to find someone unhappy with the heart and courage on display in the title bout. Both fighters took a tremendous amount of punishment and rallied from danger. Hendricks likely cinched the title in the final round when he landed a barrage of punches and a takedown that sent the crowd into a frenzy.
Late Saturday night, billboards around town congratulated the new champ on his victory.
Hendricks, though, isn’t satisfied by winning the belt that eluded him when St-Pierre won a controversial decision at this past November’s UFC 167 event.
“I want to remember what it felt like to get it, and I want to feel what it feels like to get the next one,” he said. “I’m still 0-0. Yeah, I was able to do something great on Saturday, but realistically, I’ve got to turn right back around and do it again if I want to stay champ. I want to get back and see how my body is doing and start moving forward.”
As for who Hendricks would like to be standing opposite him when he returns to the cage, an old familiar name is at the top of the list.
“There’s only one person I’d like to fight, and I’m pretty sure everybody knows who that is,” he said. “And that’s Georges St-Pierre. I would like to get back into the octagon with him. If that can happen, then I want that. So that’s what I’m really shooting for.”
From the look of things, Hendricks may get what he wants sooner than later. St-Pierre (25-2 MMA, 19-2 UFC) remains on hiatus from the sport, but he recently hinted to reporters that his break may not be as long as he initially made it seem.
For the latest on UFC 171, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.
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Check out video highlights and a recap of UFC 171: