The process of determining a new UFC welterweight champion won't be complete until March 15.
That's the day Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler meet in the main event of UFC 171. The winner will be crowned the new champion. It's a big change for the welterweight division, which has long been dominated by one man: Georges St-Pierre, one of the best fighters in the history of the sport who ran roughshod over his opponents from 2006 until he decided to vacate his title and take an extended hiatus from the sport in December.
Hendricks and Lawler haven't even faced off yet, but St-Pierre says he knows who should get the next shot: his Tristar teammate Rory MacDonald. St-Pierre told MMAjunkie's Mike Bohn that he believes MacDonald will be the next champion.
I do believe Rory deserves the next title shot. I think he deserves it, and I do believe Rory will be champion.
MacDonald took to Twitter on Monday and said he'd like to face the Hendricks/Lawler winner:
MacDonald's UFC 170 win over Demian Maia was one of his best performances of the last few years, showcasing many of the traits that made him one of the best welterweight prospects in the sport at an early age.
But MacDonald isn't the only contender knocking on the door of championship gold. Two other fights on the UFC 171 card—Carlos Condit vs. Tyron Woodley and Jake Shields vs. Hector Lombard—could also determine who faces the Hendricks/Lawler winner later this year. But one thing working in MacDonald's favor? Condit and Shields have already had their shot at the title.
MacDonald is finally in a position where he can challenge for the title. He and St-Pierre have been constantly asked over the years if they'll fight each other, and the answer was always a resounding no. With St-Pierre on hiatus, however, MacDonald is free to gun for the belt, and St-Pierre says he'll be there to help him when he does.
I was not interested in fighting Rory, and Rory was not interested in fighting me. Rory is my friend. He’s like a brother to me, a training partner. I wish him the best of luck, and if he’s going to fight for the belt, I’m going to be in the gym to help him.