UFC 171: Johny Hendricks vs. Robbie Lawler Booked for Vacant Welterweight Title

Steven RondinaFeatured ColumnistDecember 13, 2013

Nov 16, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Robbie Lawler (blue gloves) celebrates after his welterweight bout during UFC 167 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sp

While the UFC is reeling from the loss of Georges St-Pierre, Dana White and Joe Silva already have a successor in mind. During today's press conference, Dana White announced that Johny Hendricks will face off with Robbie Lawler to determine who will take over as welterweight champion.

The bout is booked for UFC 171 on March 15 in Dallas, Texas. The card was originally headlined by Jon Jones vs. Glover Teixeira, but the fight has been moved to UFC 172. Hendricks vs. Lawler will now serve as the main event.

Sorry I misspoke on the conf call. Hendricks vs Lawler will be main event in Dallas and Jones vs Teixeira will headline UFC 172

— Dana White (@danawhite) December 13, 2013

Hendricks getting attached to a fight for the vacant belt is no surprise. "Bigg Rigg" brought Georges St-Pierre to the brink of defeat before the now-former champion was awarded a surprising split decision win. Fans and media alike generally seemed to favor Hendricks, while Dana White minced no words in saying that he gave the decision to Hendricks at the post-fight press conference. 

Lawler being his opponent, meanwhile, is an interesting choice. After an ugly run in Strikeforce as a middleweight, it was unclear if Lawler would even be accepted into the UFC when they began merging the two promotions. However, he has since surged back into contention at 170 pounds, with back-to-back knockout victories over Josh Koscheck and Bobby Voelker, topped off most recently be a decision win over Rory MacDonald.

The fight is absolutely mouth-watering for fans. Both Lawler and Hendricks are known for their gun-slinging fighting style and knockout power, which will almost certainly translate into an exciting bout.

In addition to this news, White dropped the hint that former interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit may also be booked to fight at UFC 171. Condit was previously scheduled to face Matt Brown at UFC on Fox 9, but the fight was scuttled after Brown withdrew with an injury. While details remain scarce, White implied that it was a title-relevant bout and would not come against Brown.

Stick with Bleacher Report for more details as they become available.