According to MMAFighting.com's Ariel Helwani, UFC President Dana White has announced that Hendricks will defend his title in a rematch against Robbie Lawler on Dec. 6, a fight that will presumably take the place of the originally planned Weidman vs. Belfort showdown atop the card.
Hendricks and Lawler previously fought for the then-vacant welterweight strap at UFC 171 in March 2014, where they put on a Fight of the Night, five-round performance for the Dallas crowd in attendance.
After defeating Jake Ellenberger via TKO and Matt Brown via decision since that UFC 171 scrap, Lawler again finds himself challenging for UFC gold, and the bout figures to be just as competitive this time around. While Lawler put in time and got back to the cage twice after his failed title bid, the champ sat idly by, watching the division sort itself out.
He has yet to defend his title, and prior to the news of Weidman's injury, nothing had been formally planned. Now, however, the catalyst is in place, and the fight will happen earlier than anticipated, on Dec. 6, a fact sure to please fight fans across the globe.
This welterweight main event will be joined on the card by a title fight in the 155-pound division, as lightweight champion Anthony Pettis takes on Gilbert Melendez.
Despite the slight disappointment caused by Weidman's injury, it's hard to complain too much about a fight card featuring two intriguing title fights at the top, especially when one is a Fight of the Night rematch between two tried and tested warrior in Hendricks and Lawler.
Stay tuned to Bleacher Report as the UFC 181 fight card continues to develop.