New UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks endeared himself to Chael Sonnen Saturday night after UFC 171.
Hendricks picked up the belt with a decision victory over Robbie Lawler in the main event, moving to the top of the pecking order.
With the likes of Tyron Woodley, Hector Lombard, Rory MacDonald and maybe even Georges St-Pierre chasing after him now, Sonnen asked “Bigg Rigg” who he wants next.
“I don’t care,” he said, during the post-fight show on FOX Sports 2. “It’s above my pay grade (to decide that).”
Hendricks was heckled by Nick Diaz during his weigh-in attempt Friday after missing 170 pounds on his first attempt. Diaz, a former contender, was in attendance in Dallas.
“It’s not my job (to determine the contender),” he added.
It wasn’t easy, but Kelvin Gastelum proved he can take what the welterweight division in the UFC has to offer.
The former Ultimate Fighter winner improved to 8-0 with a decision victory over Rick Story Saturday night at UFC 171, and did so while dealing with adversity.
First, Gastelum missed weight upon initially hitting the scales Friday. He retreated to the back and cut down the necessary pounds to keep from surrendering any of his fight purse, but looked worn out after doing so.
The 22-year-old appeared well on his way to picking up another first round victory over Story, rocking the veteran early. However, Story showed his experience, coming back in the second.
For Gastelum, a fight like this was the perfect measuring tool for showing he is here to stay.
His story has been well-told, as Gastelum was the final pick on The Ultimate Fighter: Team Jones vs. Team Sonnen by Chael Sonnnen. He entered an underdog, and left still one after upsetting Uriah Hall in the finals.
Gastelum, though, has shown his abilities now in wins over Brian Melancon and Story. While still young in age and experience, he is one to watch in the welterweight division.
The UFC is planning to return to Canada with UFC 174 on June 14.
Rory MacDonald sees that as a perfect time to attempt to win the welterweight title and bring it to his native country.
Johny Hendricks downed Robbie Lawler Saturday night at UFC 171, taking the throne that Georges St-Pierre held for years. GSP announced his decision to vacate the belt last December, and his Tristar teammate wants the next shot.
“Who wants to see me fight Johny Hendricks in Vancouver for the UFC welterweight title?” MacDonald posted on Twitter. “Bringing the title back to Canada!!”
MacDonald (16-2) suffered a split decision loss to Lawler last November, but got back on track by downing Demian Maia in February.
— Rory MacDonald (@rory_macdonald) March 16, 2014
Ovince St. Preux improved to 12-1 in his last 13 fights with a first round submission victory over Nikita Krylov Saturday night at UFC 171.
After scoring a powerful takedown just moments into the contest, the former Tennessee Volunteer football player continued to work in side control.
That was the exact place OSP (15-5) wanted to be, as he locked up a Von Flue choke that knocked Krylov out.
“I’m calling that ‘Performance of the Night,'” said St. Preux, who is now 3-0 with the UFC. “Anytime I get in that position, I’m going for the Von Flue choke.”
St. Preux hasn’t lost since a 2011 decision to Gegard Mousasi. He was expected to face Thiago Silva on this card before Silva was cut from the UFC after his legal run-in involving his wife.
The loss for Krylov dropped him to 16-4 overall and 1-2 with the UFC.
UFC president Dana White dropped some interesting sound bites on FOX Sports 2’s UFC 171 post-fight show, including making comments on Nick Diaz.
Diaz was in attendance Saturday night – and Friday during the weigh-ins where he heckled Johny Hendricks.
Hendricks became the new UFC welterweight champion, scoring a decision victory over Robbie Lawler in the main event.
“That was one of the greatest fights,” White said. “Those guys stood in the pocket all night. They stood and traded. How Johny Hendricks got out of that third round we will never know.”
White admitted he had it tied up two rounds each heading into the fifth, saying, “(Lawler) got caught halfway through the round.”
As for what is next for both fighters, White didn’t want to announce, but their bout was one where there were “no losers.”
Diaz, who retired following his championship loss to Georges St-Pierre, sat next to Ronda Rousey for the card in Dallas.
“He hasn’t talked to me about fighting,” White said. “Nick was heckling Hendricks the entire fight trying to get a title shot.”
The card also featured wins by welterweights Tyron Woodley and Hector Lombard. Woodley earned a TKO over Carlos Condit when the former interim champion suffered an apparent knee injury, while Lombard downed Jake Shields.
“Nobody wants to win that way, but that is a big win for (Woodley),” White said. “(Lombard) looked good. Jake Shields is one of those guys that makes you look bad.”
As for the previously mentioned Rousey, White confirmed Holly Holm’s manager was in the back meeting with Lorenzo Fertitta, but added “it is easy winning fights outside of the UFC.”
There have been some reports that Holm could be signed and moved into a championship match with the UFC female bantamweight titleholder.
One final piece of info from White was on the Chael Sonnen-Wanderlei Silva bout set for later this year. It is still not a done deal, but “there is no issue with contracts or money.
“It is something else,” White stated. “We’ll have it resolved soon.”