New UFC champion Johny Hendricks joined the MMA Hour today, hosted by Ariel Helwani, and covered a few subjects leading up to the fight, among others. The UFC champion tried to dance around the reason why the take down tactic was not as effective as it usually is for Hendricks, but in the end, he revealed that he sustained an elbow injury during training camp. He further stated that the injury occurred while he was throwing hook while sparring and heard a pop in his elbow. His camp debated on whether he would be able to compete in the UFC title fight, later deciding the championship fight was not one he was willing to pass up. Hendricks has not had the opportunity to get his elbow checked out yet, and did say that he was planning on going to get his elbow evaluated today. The new champ said he felt he could not finish a take down with the injury, and felt the injury flared up with his first take down attempt on Robbie Lawler.
The fight between the two warriors could be considered one of the best in UFC history, and so far, definitely one of the best of the year to date. After the war, both Lawler and Hendricks may need a little time off to recuperate, as both of their faces were bruised, bloodied and battered as they left the post fight press conference. No injury news has been revealed about Lawler as of yet, but with Hendrick’s elbow issue, the UFC may have cause for concern.
Hendricks said he would like to make a return back to the cage to defend his belt sometime around September, leaving six months for other welterweight fighters to jockey for a position to be the new No. 1 contender for the title. Tyrone Woodley, Hector Lombard, and Nick Diaz are all vying for a title shot in their own ways; Lombard and Woodley, by using their recent success in the division to help land the shot. Nick Diaz has not won a fight since 2011, losing his last two fights. The Diaz name has always been a good selling advantage for a UFC fight, though, and with his bad boy demeanor, Diaz can almost always talk his way into the mix better then anyone in the UFC.
Georges St.-Pierre and Johny Hendricks exchanged pleasantries for the first time since Hendricks won the belt on Saturday. Hendricks wasted no time letting St.-Pierre know that he would like an opportunity to fight the former champion again, and prove that he can be the better fighter and champion in the UFC. The former champion responded quickly, quipping that if Hendricks stays champion long enough, a rematch could occur in due time.
St.-Pierre has been taking an extended leave from the game and has given no time table on his return to the octagon. The division and No. 1 contendership is wide open for the taking if any welterweight on the roster wants to claim it. Could possible fights like a Lawler vs. Diaz 2, McDonald vs. Woodley, contender fights be a possibility in the coming months? The UFC machine has been rolling through countries, but finding a clear-cut contender in the division will become important in the near future. The organization will need to see where Hendricks’ elbow is first, and make sure there is no threat of an injury pulling the fight altogether.
With any possible match up with any of the above-mentioned fighters, each could lead to another remarkable title fight for the UFC. The organization has quite the decision on their hands, and may just try to convince St.-Pierre to come back to make their job easier, but as St.-Pierre stated, this is highly unlikely right now.
Commentary by Justin Huffman
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