Robbie Lawler vs John Hendricks 1 & 2, UFC 171, March 2014 and UFC 181, Dec 2014
Georges St-Pierre ruled the UFC Welterweight division from 2006 to 2013. He spent those 7 years cleaning out the entire division, taking out all the top welterweight fighters the fight world could throw at him. Finally in 2013, when GSP stepped down, the welterweight title was open for the taking.
The timing couldn’t have been better. The viciously competitive world of the UFC welterweight division was swarming with hungry, skilled, and tough fighters. All of them starving to be the next champion. Matt Brown, Rory MacDonald, Tyron Woodley, Carlos Condit, Nick Diaz, Jake Ellenberger. The fight world paid good money to watch any combination of these fighters get in the cage.
From these combinations, fight fans got almost all of them. And the two that came out on top gave us some of the best welterweight fights in MMA history.
Johny Hendricks made a name for himself first as an outstanding collegiate wrestler. He trained under the great John Smith at Oklahoma State University. He could very well be one of the top pound for pound wrestlers in MMA today. With his southern drawl and his amicable and genuine personality. He southern charmed the fight world almost immediately…well at least me… But it wasn’t his sunny disposition that won the fight world over. It was his devastatingly damaging and concussive knockout wins.
The first one we remember is of Charlie Brenneman. The most memorable was probably Jon Fitch. When we all thought Jon Fitch, then one of the greatest welterweights second to GSP, was going to pour cold water on the Hendrick hype train. Then it was the left hand that sent Martin Kampmann hurling across the canvas. Getting into the ring with this guy could not be good for you. At all.
A win against Carlos Condit got Johny a shot at the belt. A close fight with GSP ending in a controversial decision. Perhaps this was the fight that told GSP that the fight world was finally catching up to him and he should quit while he was on top.
When GSP stepped down, the UFC Welterweight crown belonged to Johny Hendrcks, all he had to do was fight someone for it and seal the deal.
Robbie Lawler turned pro and started fighting in 2001. Six years earlier than Johny Hendricks. For those of us fight fans who have been following this sport for a while, Robbie Lawler has been there since we could remember. He made his first run in the UFC starting in 2002. He had wins over Aaron Riley, Tiki Ghosn, and even the great Chris Lytle. A series of losses to Nick Diaz and Evan Tanner sent him from the promotion.
During this time outside of the UFC, he became the ICON Middleweight Champion, the EliteXC Middleweight Champion, and fought Jacare Souza for the Strikeforce Middleweight Championship. What might be more impressive are his KO wins against Frank Trigg, Murilo Rua, Scott Smith, Melvin Manhoef, and Matt Lindland.
Robbie Lawler would be the first to admit that his fight career has been anything but easy. He hasn’t had easy fights and he hasn’t had an easy path. Despite his achievements and his exciting wins, he was never been a PPV draw and has never been considered MMA elite. He has had to scratch and claw every inch of the way. When he re-entered the UFC in 2013 with the Strikeforce merger, he had to start all over again at the bottom of the hill.
Robbie fought through the welterweight division. A win over then to contender Rory MacDonald earned him a shot at the vacant welterweight title against Johny Hendricks. Unfortunately, he lost that fight. But in Robbie Lawler vs Johny Hendricks 1, the two gave the fight world one of the most exciting and passionate performances in the cage. Awesome striking with Johny winning the first few rounds and Robbie rallying back. As the bell for the end of the 5th round rang, Robbie was hungry for more.
After the fight, Robbie found himself once again in a familiar place. At the bottom of the hill. But this time, the fight world knew what he was capable of and that he gave Johny Hendricks, the current welterweight champion, a run for his money.
In the span of 9 months, Robbie Lawler dispatched both Jake Ellenberger and Matt Brown. Two fighters considered top contenders in the welterweight division and both hungry to prove that they were too, made of championship material.
Robbie Lawler lost to Johny Hendricks in March. In December of the same year, he stepped back into the cage with Johny Hendricks but this time, he beat the champion and finally claimed his long-deserved place in MMA history.
In their quest for the championship, Robbie and Johny gave us some of the most inspiring, suspenseful, violent, yet technical fights in the UFC. Please enjoy them here.
Robbie Lawler vs Johny Hendricks 1 full fight video
Robbie Lawler vs Johny Hendricks 2 full fight video