Johny Hendricks vs. Robbie Lawler: Could the Rematch Be Even Better?

Dan HiergesellFeatured ColumnistAugust 14, 2014

Johny Hendricks, left, and Robbie Lawler exchange punches during a UFC 171 mixed martial arts welterweight title bout, Saturday, March 15, 2014, in Dallas. Hendricks won by decision. (AP Photo/Matt Strasen)
Matt Strasen/Associated Press

Sequels never live up to their billing.

Jaws 2, Son of the Mask, Evil Dead 2 and so on.

But unlike these cinematic reboots that are incapable of reproducing perfection, mixed martial arts offers pure, unscripted action.

That means that a sequel can be better than its original.

So when UFC welterweight kingpin Johny Hendricks and top contender Robbie Lawler step inside of the Octagon early next year, it's possible that their second toe-to-toe installment will surpass their first.

It's that sort of highly anticipated unpredictability that makes MMA the intriguing entity it is today, from the UFC all the way down to the amateur circuit.

But when you pin two of the very best fighters in the world against each other for five more rounds, the stakes go up.

Matt Strasen/Associated Press

However, despite the facts that Hendricks should be completely healthy coming into his first title defense and Lawler has arguably been better during this title run compared to his last, this sport never offers certainty.

Things could go awry, and the two heavy-handed barbarians could miss with every swing.

But if momentum has shown us anything when it comes to two well-polished objects colliding at full speed, it's that stars are often born from such an imminent explosion.

Simply put, Hendricks vs. Lawler II will more than likely surpass its hair-raising prelude.

On one side of the spectrum you have Hendricks. As a guy who built his entire professional output around winning a world title, he will literally do anything to retain his championship.

That means that we could very well witness an even more dangerous and offensively acute Bigg Rigg than we've ever seen before.

One who will presumably come into this rematch with health on his side and the motivation to prove that nobody in the 170-pound division can come close to knocking him off his schnide.

July 26, 2014; San Jose, CA, USA; Robbie Lawler (red gloves) punches Matt Brown (blue gloves) during the welterweight bout of the FOX UFC Saturday at SAP Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

On the other side of the spectrum you have Lawler. With arguably more impressive victories under his belt this time around compared to the first time he came into a fight opposite Hendricks, the 32-year-old has never looked better.

His skills have never been called into question, but Lawler seems to have entered his professional pinnacle, which is scary considering how good he's been throughout the years.

You also have to take into account that Ruthless now knows what he has to do different in order to push Hendricks even further up the tree in their rematch. He came so close the first time around, stunning the champ in succession, that it's plausible that a few tweaks here and there could even the score at 1-1.

But when it comes down to it, after all the assumptions, predictions and potential fixes have been discussed breath-by-breath, the raw power that each welterweight hammer his opponents with is really all that's needed to enshrine their first meeting as a distant memory.

Hendricks may in fact opt to shoot more than he did the first time around, but there's zero chance he doesn't test the waters on the feet once again with Lawler.

Either way, whoever wins, the UFC welterweight division has seemed to find respectable draws between the two, which was a top promotional priority after Georges St-Pierre's departure.

Whether Hendricks is able to outlast Lawler again or Lawler is able to strong-arm his way to UFC gold will be settled in early 2015.

It can't come soon enough.


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