New UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks will be on the shelf for a while due to injuries suffered before and during his big UFC 171 win over Robbie Lawler.
But the champ told FoxSports.com he can't wait to get back in the cage, mostly because he wants to defend his shiny new belt against any and all comers:
Now this is where I get to start enjoying it. I don't have to worry about who it is. I know it's going to be a five round fight, I know when my body heals I'll be able to say this is when I'd like to fight.
Hendricks told The MMA Hour on Monday that he'd injured his elbow during training camp, and that the injury was severe enough that he considered dropping out of the title fight. But he said the world championship mattered too much, so he decided to forge ahead with the fight.
But it appears that wasn't exactly the wisest move. Now, after a grueling five-round bout that saw him snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in the fifth round, Hendricks has been diagnosed with a torn bicep. The injury will require surgery that will keep him on the shelf for two months.
More on Hendricks. Rehab 4 wks after surgery, 4 wks of rehab (if all goes well) and hopefully start traning again in 2+ months.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) March 19, 2014
Once he does come back, he will have no shortage of challengers. Tyron Woodley, Hector Lombard and Rory MacDonald have all laid their claims to the next title shot, and Nick Diaz is waiting in the wings as the popular choice to face Hendricks. With Hendricks on the sidelines for an undetermined amount of time, it looks like the rest of the welterweight contenders will have time to sort themselves out while waiting for the new divisional king to return.
But one other man will be an instant contender if he decides to return: former champion Georges St-Pierre, who is on hiatus from mixed martial arts.
There is a chance he never comes back to the cage. And while Hendricks would like to fight St-Pierre again, he also said he wouldn't lose much sleep over it:
But if he didn't come back, there's so many other good (fighters). Look at what I just went through. Look at some of the guys coming up. It's going to be a tough road and that's what I'm excited for.