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Johny Hendricks 'thought about' pulling out of UFC title fight

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Johny Hendricks blocks a punch from Robbie Lawler during a UFC 171 mixed martial arts welterweight title bout, Saturday, March 15, 2014, in Dallas. Hendricks won by decision
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Johny Hendricks [R] considered pulling out of his UFC 171 fight against Robbie Lawler [L] (AP Photo/Matt Strasen)

Johny Hendricks says that he considered pulling out of his UFC 171 welterweight title bout against Robbie Lawler Saturday because of a serious elbow injury suffered before the fight. Lawler and Hendricks engaged in an all-time great fistic war with Hendricks earning the close decision and vacant UFC welterweight title.

The fight almost didn't happen, according to Hendricks.

"We thought about [pulling out]," he told MMA Fighting this week.

"But that world championship means a lot more."

The biggest factor Hendricks' elbow played in the fight was that the wrestler's take downs were rendered less effective against Lawler.

"It was whenever I tried for takedowns, I could not get it," Hendricks claimed.

As a result, the former two-time NCAA division I wrestling champ was forced to stand and trade punches, kicks, knees and elbows with the dangerous Lawler for five grueling rounds. In rounds three and four, it appeared as if Lawler was moments away from finishing the rocked Hendricks.

"I was pretty hurt, I’m not going to lie," Hendricks admitted.

"[Lawler] hit me pretty good. The third round was bad enough that in the fourth round he was still able to do it...There were a couple of punches where I thought, I really need to throw back. Because [I thought] if I let him get a couple more of these in, yeah, it could be over. But I told myself, hey, just fire back. Just fire back. Calm down. And when I told myself that I was able to start landing some of my own punches."

He did indeed - notably a big uppercut in the fifth that put Lawler out on his feet, and precipitated a round stealing for Hendricks. Hopefully Hendricks will be back to something near 100% with time so he can begin his title reign off right.

Who do you want to see Hendricks fight next? A rematch with Lawler?

Georges St. Pierre, should he return, Tyron Woodley, Hector Lombard? Let us know in the comments section.

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