Despite pleas from both sides of the UFC 171 post-fight podium, the next welterweight contender has yet to emerge.
UFC President Dana White is holding off on deciding who’s next for newly minted welterweight champ Johny Hendricks (16-2 MMA, 11-2 UFC), who outpointed Robbie Lawler (22-10 MMA, 7-4 UFC) in the headliner of Saturday’s pay-per-view event.
Asked by MMAjunkie what the promotions plans are for the division and whether key welterweight fights on the card produced a challenger for Hendricks, White simply said, “Nope.”
UFC 171 took place at Dallas’ American Airlines Center. The event’s main card aired live on pay-per-view following prelims on FOX Sports 1 and UFC Fight Pass.
Two welterweights who were victorious in separate bouts bid for the position at the event’s post-fight presser. Tyron Woodley (13-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC), who earned a second-round TKO when former interim champ Carlos Condit injured his knee, repeated an earlier call for a title shot. And Hector Lombard (34-4-1 MMA, 3-2 UFC), who outpointed Jake Shields, unexpectedly put his name in the hat.
Of the two volunteers, it was Woodley’s bout that had the more unusual ending. Prior to the fight, Hendricks said he expected the winner of the fight to be a No. 1 contender. But with a less-than-decisive outcome, the question was whether anything had changed.
“I think it takes nothing away,” Woodley said. “I think if you break somebody’s arm in an armbar, or you put them in a choke and they don’t tap, it wasn’t like it came from a pre-existing injury. It came from a double-leg takedown. I saw that he was hurt and I went for the finish. I think I was dominating the fight, and that’s a hard guy to dominate.
“I asked for this fight because I didn’t think I was going to lose it. You guys fail to realize I’m in this to be a world champion, and I went after the top guy, and everybody was so quiet, and I blew [Dana White's] phone up until he probably couldn’t take it any more, because I want to be the world champ, and I think that alone, the persistence, warrants me a world title shots. Me and Johny Hendricks have some unfinished business from the big-12 days of wrestling, and I would love to get my hands on him.”
Lombard initially shied away from proclaiming his worthiness as a contender, but almost three-quarters of the way through the presser, he changed his mind.
“I would like to get that please,” said Lombard, motioning to a mind. “I beat the guy that [Hendricks] was himself calling for the right to fight for the belt, because he had, like, four wins. So I believe now that Robbie is out of the picture, I can be a tough challenge for him.”
For Hendricks, the answer to the question is to not say anything at all, at least for the moment. He said after years of calling out the champ, and then finally getting the belt, his play would be to keep his mouth shut and wait for the UFC to give him a fight.
In the meantime, his immediate plan is to return home and tend to the home front.
“I’m going to go home, kiss my wife, kiss my three little girls, (and) say that I’m going to be home for a little bit,” Hendricks said. “I’ll spend some time with them and be a father again. Just enjoy life.”
For complete coverage of UFC 171, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.
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