Johny Hendricks. Pic by SHERDOG.COM -click for source- Credit: Dave Mandel

It only took 10 rounds in less than five months. But now, Johny Hendricks is the new UFC welterweight champion. Not even 10 minutes removed from the biggest win of his career, it’s all about who’s next. When you’re the champ, it’s not about winning, it’s about holding on to the belt and staying on top of the mountain. Hendricks already said it’s not his job to make the fights, it’s his job to win the fights. Complete respect.

After a night we watched Robbie Lawler get so close to capturing UFC gold, Hector Lombard gassing out early against Jake Shields, a night where we saw Nick Diaz heckle Hendricks over and over, and a night where Carlos Condit‘s knee blew out with Tyron Woodley getting the win, we are left wondering, who is next for “Bigg Rigg?” There are a lot of competitors in the stacked welterweight division, and whoever gets the shot next, you can bet Hendricks will be ready. So, who should be next?

Hector Lombard or Tyron Woodley?

Both guys had decent performances at UFC 171, but nothing to write home about. Lombard came out like he always does with guns a blazing. Woodley did the same thing. Both guys love to come out early and throw 120% power in everything. For Lombard, it almost backfired.

His strength is what kept him alive against Shields. He was just the bigger man. Lombard looks like if he can’t KO you in the first round, then the rest of his fight will just be a boring gas fest. No one wants to see that in a title fight. Lombard is a beast, but he’s not ready for a title shot just yet.

I say the same about Woodley. I give Tyron credit for stepping up and wanting the Condit fight. He came out aggressive and dominated from the ring of the bell. He hit Condit with everything and ended up hurting his knee with a brutal takedown, and ended it with a nasty kick (to the not hurt leg of Condit). Despite beating Koscheck and Condit, I still don’t believe “T-Wood” is ready to face top guys like Hendricks.

In no way should Tyron jump over guys like Rory MacDonald, Nick Diaz, Matt brown or GSP without having to fight them first. I believe Tyron and Lombard are both title worthy in the future, but not right now. So, why not make them fight each other? Both guys come out ready to knock heads off bodies. They would put on an exciting fight for the fans, and the guy who isn’t staring at the lights at the end of the fight, will be the guy for the future. Plus, you have to remember, Shields beat Woodley and Lombard barely got by Shields. It doesn’t matter, but still kind of does. Neither guy is ready for a title shot yet.

Nick Diaz?

In no way should he just be able talk his way into a title shot, even though the Diaz brothers are the master at that. He hasn’t been relevant in the UFC for over a year and now all the sudden he shows up with Rousey at the weigh-ins. For what? To be a rude? All weekend Nick Diaz has been trying to pick a fight with Johny and get himself an immediate UFC title shot based off anger.

He heckled Hendricks at the weigh-ins and all night during his title fight with Robbie Lawler.  Hendricks isn’t that guy. Run your mouth to him, he doesn’t care. Johny won’t ask Dana for a fight with Diaz just because Diaz gets under his skin. That’s not how this works. Not saying fans wouldn’t love to see Diaz vs, Hendricks. The fight would sell. Who doesn’t like a Diaz fight? Whether you love them or hate them, they come to fight. That being said, Nick should just stay retired and leave this stacked division alone.

Matt Brown?

What does a man have to do to get his deserved title shot? With a dominate win over Erik Silva, you would think Matt Brown would be next in line for a title shot right? Wrong. As much as I want to see Brown get what he has earned, I don’t see that happening even with an impressive win over his next opponent. He just isn’t that marketable right now.

He has ran his mouth enough to get a shot, but it just hasn’t worked. He literally belittled the entire sport of woman’s mma, and he still can’t get permanent attention his way. I feel bad for the former TUF alumni. This is just another Ricardo Lamas story. Lamas eventually got his title shot, so we shall see. But it won’t be anytime soon, that’s for sure.

Rory MacDonald?

He has been the golden boy since he first arrived in the UFC, only to be derailed by Carlos Condit and more recently Robbie Lawler. MacDonald has a lot of hype still circling him, especially after his last win over Demian Maia. Does this make him the new number one contender? As of right now, I say yes. Hendricks vs. “Ares” would be an awesome fight.

MacDonald is only here for one reason, to be the champ. GSP was always standing in his way and this might still be the problem. MacDonald is next in my opinion, unless GSP returns. If that happens, what do you do with Rory? Maybe put him against Lombard or Woodley. I think it’s time for MacDonald to get his title shot if GSP stays on the sidelines.

Robbie Lawler?

Lawler put on a great show and left everything in the Octagon. He proved he still has what it takes to be a top contender and knows how to put on a great show for the crowd. I just think this division is too stacked for an immediate title shot right now. And I think the UFC agrees.


He wanted out of the spotlight until he realized without it that he isn’t as relevant. GSP took 3 months off and is already talking about returning. So, why did you even take time off? Still makes no sense to me. Either way, he never lost his belt. If he returns, he should definitely get an immediate title shot, or a return shot if you will. He is still the best wrestler in all MMA in my opinion and one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in all mma. He deserves a shot at what he never lost upon a possible return.

Who do you think should be next for the new UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks?

Ben McPhee (@mmawriter1 Twitter and Instagram)