UFC 171: "Hendricks vs. Lawler" takes place tonight (Sat., March 15, 2014) inside American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, and the vacant welterweight title is there for the taking.
After longtime champion Georges St. Pierre relinquished the belt to focus on the finer things in life, it was announced his last opponent, Johny Hendricks, would battle against Robbie Lawler for the title.
This will be Hendricks' second title shot in a row, and Lawler finds himself in a UFC championship bout for the first time since making his mixed martial arts (MMA) debut nearly 13 years ago.
As the fighters who are taking part in this event finished off a week of media appearances and successfully made weight yesterday (see staredown pics here), it's time for their "Last Words," before the time for talking is over and the fists start flying.
Check 'em out:
Pre-Fight Media Scrum
A composed and eager Robbie Lawler spoke to the media days ahead of the welterweight showdown, talking about his chances and the excitement for his title fight.
On if he's even been more excited than when he got the call to fight for the title:
"Yeah, I've been more excited. I'm more excited today than I was then. I mean, I kind of put myself in that situation with what I did in the last year and I just expected it to happen. I wasn't super excited, but I was ‘alright, it's time to go to work,' and I'm excited now."
On how his mentality was in his early days compared to what it is now:
"My mentality was I'm just going to go in there and beat people up, lay in my hotel and not say very much, and just go in there and fight. Now, there's a lot more to it. There's a lot more media involved, there's a lot more interviews, there's just a lot more going on in this sport. At that point in time, I wasn't ready for the media attention, and now I am."
Johny Hendricks embraces the gauntlet of the swarming media, answering questions about his last fight and the trouble his opponent could bring forth.
On what adjustments he made since his last fight:
"Realistically, you just have to say that happened. I can't make too many adjustments, because if you make too many adjustments, what's gonna happen is I'll start worrying about what the judges want, instead of what this guy might do to me."
On what his strategy is going into this fight:
"I don't know my strategy. I got multiple game plans that I think could work. I believe I'm fully prepared, I've got power just like he does, which is great because everybody's talking about his power...and they sort of forgot about mine."
UFC broadcaster and conspiracy theorist enthusiast Joe Rogan caught up with both main event fighters right after each of them weighed in (as well as us directly after), and he turned his attention to the challenger first.
Did he really just say "cool" when Dana White called him about this fight?
"Yeah, I knew I was gonna be here. I always believed in myself and I put myself at least in that discussion. I'm excited to be here and it's my time."
On what he thinks about Hendricks as an opponent and what will go down later tonight:
"He's an amazing fighter and he's an amazing wrestler. He's coming to fight, his skills are high level, and I'm ready."
Rogan shifted his focus to Hendricks, who was clearly a little distraught after his initial weigh-in blunder.
If missing the weight was a surprise to him:
"Yeah, it was. I thought we made it. We'll see what happens in an hour, you know what I mean?"
On what he thinks about Lawler as an opponent and how frustrating the whole situation has been since his loss to GSP:
"It's been actually really good, because you know, it's motivated me in other ways to get this belt, and you know, Saturday night, it's gonna be mine."
We shall see.
MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 171 fight card on fight night, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, right on through the FOX Sports 2-televised under card bouts at 8 p.m. ET and then main card PPV, which is slated to begin at 10 p.m. ET.
See you tonight, Maniacs.