Johny Hendricks' face told the story after his clash with Robbie Lawler at UFC 171. Bloody and bruised, Hendricks took punches from Lawler that would've dropped an ordinary man. Following the fight, Hendricks handed out some major props to Lawler—and a slight to former champion Georges St-Pierre.
Speaking to UFC Tonight (h/t Bleacher Report MMA), the newly crowned UFC welterweight champ said that Lawler was a tougher fight than GSP. Hendricks cited Lawler's punching power as the biggest difference between the two competitors.
On @UFCTonight Hendricks says that Lawler fight was a tougher fight than GSP. Points to the power of Lawler being the difference maker.— Bleacher Report MMA (@BR_MMA) March 19, 2014
Lawler has always been known for his punching power and this GIF courtesy of Bloody Elbow shows that Hendricks found out firsthand just how hard "Ruthless" can punch.
GSP was considered not only the best welterweight while competing, but also the top pound-for-pound fighter in MMA. Hendricks saying Lawler was a tougher fight than one of the all-time greats is tough to comprehend at first, but it only takes one look at Hendricks' face after the fight to know it's true.
Hendricks didn't face much adversity in terms of power shots from St-Pierre in their clash, as GSP used a technical game plan to out-point Hendricks on the scorecards.
That wasn't the case with Hendricks-Lawler, as MMA Junkie indicates that the two men set a record for the most significant strikes landed in a UFC title match.
The fight came down to the fifth and final round for many fans, as it seemed both men had won two rounds apiece. Hendricks controlled the first two rounds and Lawler made a comeback in the third and fourth rounds.
It appeared as though Hendricks' early leg kicks did their job, as Lawler's pace slowed in the final round. Hendricks was able to capitalize and scored an unanimous decision victory to take the vacant UFC welterweight strap.