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UFC 171: Here’s Three Things You Need To Know

UFC 171 takes place this evening from Dallas and the American Airlines Center, and will see the crowning of a new welterweight champion.

Ignorning the interim title that Carlos Condit held for nine months, Georges St-Pierre has been the UFC welterweight champion since 2008 when he unified the belts with a win over Matt Serra.

Like Anderson Silva, St-Pierre ruled the 170-pound division for years, taking out the likes of BJ Penn, Dan Hardy, Josh Koscheck, Carlos Condit and Nick Diaz.

Here’s three things you need to know concerning tonight’s main event between Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler.

Joining an elite club

MMA: UFC 167-St-Pierre vs HendricksEither Hendricks or Lawler will become just the ninth UFC welterweight champion ever, and that includes a list of just six fighters (not including Condit’s interim reign).

The others are Pat Miletich, Carlos Newton, Matt Hughes, Penn, Serra and GSP.

The belt was originally the UFC lightweight title before Miletich became the welterweight champion in 1998 with a victory over Mikey Burnett. The current announcer held it for 931 days and defended it four times.

Newton won the belt in 2001, but immediately dropped it to Hughes in his first title defense. Hughes would become a two-time champion, just like St-Pierre.

Hendricks or Lawler will have a long ways to go to match GSP for the record in terms of days being champion, as the Canadian held the title for 2,204 days over his two runs – including 2,064 in his latest stint atop the division.

Who’s the better wrestler?

MMA: UFC 167-St-Pierre vs HendricksHendricks was a two-time national champion while competing at Oklahoma State University and a four-time All-American for the Cowboys.

He also picked up three Big 12 titles and was a three-time Oklahoma state wrestling champion in high school.

Lawler was a standout on both the wrestling mat and the gridiron, securing all-state status in both sports in Iowa.

In terms of the ground game, the advantage definitely holds with “Bigg Rigg” in terms of background and resume.

The ATT difference

Lawler has admitted in interviews that he needed a change in training to get the best out of himself, and American Top Team has provided that.

From 2009 to 2012, “Ruthless” went 3-5 while competing for Strikeforce. That included decision losses to Lorenz Larkin, Tim Kennedy and Renato Sobral, along with submission defeats at the hands of Ronaldo Souza and Jake Shields.

That’s a strong list of fighters, but what Lawler has done since the calendar flipped to 2013 has been nothing short of amazing.

He finished Josh Koscheck in the first round at UFC 157, becoming the first person to do that since 2009 and just the second-ever in Koscheck’s career.

Lawler followed that up by dealing veteran tough guy Bobby Voelker his first stoppage defeat since 2008, and concluded his run with a decision over Rory MacDonald.

Johny Hendricks Feeling Refreshed, Headed For Steak Dinner

Johny Hendricks wants all of his fans and supporters to know he is ready to go after a last-minute weight-cut Friday.

Hendricks sent a scare through the UFC world when he failed to hit the scale at 170 pounds for his UFC 171 title fight with Robbie Lawler Saturday.

However, after heading to the back, “Bigg Rigg” returned less than two hours later and successfully weighed in at 170 pounds – minus his shorts.

The UFC welterweight title will be on the line when he steps inside the Octagon against Lawler in Dallas, and Hendricks posted a message on Twitter a few hours after his correct weigh-in stating everything is good.

UFC 171 Video: Hendricks Hits Mark

The UFC has made video of Johny Hendricks successfully weighing in for Saturday’s UFC 171 title fight with Robbie Lawler available.

Initially, Hendricks tipped the scales at 171.5. For championship matches, the fighter can not be over the weight limit for his division.

A surprised “Bigg Rigg” quickly went to the back and cut the weight, coming in at 170 on his second attempt – after doing away with his shorts.

GSP And The Card The UFC Is Holding

UFC president Dana White stated earlier this week that it is only a matter of time before Georges St-Pierre returns to the Octagon.

White didn’t use the “maybe” or “future” card to discuss GSP.

Instead, he said “when” the former champion returns.

The UFC now has that ace up its sleeve to play if it wants in regards to the future of the welterweight division.

St-Pierre vacated the title last year after defeating Johny Hendricks. Many thought GSP lost the fight. His face was bruised and battered, but the judges scored the split decision in his favor.

Immediately afterwards, he told Joe Rogan that he needed some time off. He didn’t want to use the word retirement, and remained steadfast in that approach during his conference call confirming his decision to vacate the belt and step away.

Now, on the eve of crowning a new champion at UFC 171 Saturday night, it appears White is ready to pull out his joker.

Most believe the winner of the co-main between Carlos Condit and Tyron Woodley will be declared the next challenger. White, though, isn’t ready to do that. He wants to see what happens first.

Could “what happens first” be St-Pierre deciding he has had enough time and wants back in? Doubtful, but maybe.

GSP has been all over the news lately, holding press conferences and scrums with members of the media. He has said, countless times, he is happy and has not set a date for his return.

But why would he just randomly announce it? Don’t you think the UFC would want to make a big splash and have news of his return made on FOX Sports or ESPN like they have been doing as of late? Of course they would.

Some feel St-Pierre has done enough – and suffered enough damage – that it is time to move on to another chapter in his life.

Personally, if he is up to it – and healthy – I want to see as much of Georges St-Pierre as possible. We won’t get another like him, and that is something all MMA fans should treasure.

UFC 171: Twitter Offers Up Thoughts On Failed Weigh-Ins

Johny Hendricks came in over for his scheduled UFC 171 main event fight with Robbie Lawler for the welterweight title Friday.

Hendricks is still attempting to cut the 1.5 pounds to make the bout official and for the belt. If Hendricks does not make the weight and wins the fight, FOX Sports 2 is reporting that he will not become champion. However, if Lawler wins and Hendricks misses weight, he will become champion.

Twitter sounded off, both fighters and media members, immediately following the failed weigh-in.

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