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Johny Hendricks’ reign as the UFC’s welterweight champion in 2014 lasted fewer than nine months, but it undeniably proved he belongs among the division’s elite fighters.
“Bigg Rigg,” as he’s known to his legions of fans, is more than just a good ol’ boy from Ada, Okla., who makes his home in Dallas. He’s a powerful puncher, a talented wrestler and a relentless competitor who refuses to surrender.
Hendricks proved his all-around skills in two stirring five-round fights against Robbie Lawler. In the first, at UFC 171 in March 2014, the two warriors exchanged heavy shots virtually nonstop before Hendricks won the final round on the judges’ scorecards to claim the vacant welterweight belt.
At one point during the fight, UFC announcer Joe Rogan said, “One thing Johny Hendricks knows how to do, he knows how to win.”
In their rematch, at UFC 181 in December of that year, Hendricks and Lawler battled again for five rounds, although this time Lawler emerged with a split decision victory.