UFC 171 featured several of the top welterweights in the world at the American Airlines Center in Dallas on Saturday. A new champion was crowned in Johny Hendricks and contenders emerged, while others’ title shot hopes were dashed.
Hendricks defeated Robbie Lawler by unanimous decision in the main event to capture the vacant welterweight title. Tyron Woodley defeated Carlos Condit in the co-main event and strengthened his case for a title shot. Hector Lombard was victorious over Jake Shields and thinks he should be next in line.
While some were eliminated from contender status, no clear-cut top contender rose above the crowd. Rory MacDonald believes he should face Hendricks next.
Despite having lost his last two fights and being pseudo retired, some think Nick Diaz should get a crack at Hendricks. Diaz made headlines by heckling Hendricks during the weigh-ins on Friday and sat ringside heckling him throughout the fight with Lawler.
“He’s trying to get a title shot,” said UFC president Dana White about Diaz during the event’s Post Show on Fox Sports 2. However, White stated that he hasn’t talked to Diaz at all and doesn’t know if he is going to ever fight again.
There’s also former champion Georges St-Pierre. St-Pierre is currently on hiatus from fighting to deal with some personal issues, but White has been adamant that the former champion will be back. St-Pierre voluntarily relinquished his title after his ninth consecutive title defense at UFC 167 where he won a controversial split decision over Hendricks.
Asked if he felt he needed to beat St-Pierre to vindicate himself as the champion during the post-fight press conference, Hendricks stated, “No, but I’d like to. I’d like to fight Georges again. We had a good match. I think I’m better.”
While St-Pierre sits on the sidelines and several fighters are lobbying and jockeying for a shot, Hendricks doesn’t care whom he faces next. He says matchmaking is not his job.
“It’s not my call. I do as I say. The UFC picks my opponents. And that’s what I’m going to do. Whoever the UFC stands in front of me next, that’s who I’m going to fight,” said the newly crowned champion. “I want it to be whoever is number two. If number two is hurt then whoever is number three. We’re just going to go down the line, and that’s the way I want to keep it going. But realistically, I don’t get any say in that. I say that’s way above my pay grade.
“I don’t care,” he added. “It’s not my job.”