They Said What?!? UFC 171: 'Hendricks vs Lawler' edition

Anne-Marie Sorvin-US PRESSWIRE

Mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters say the darndest things prior to stepping inside the Octagon. looks back at a handful of UFC 171 pre-fight remarks to find out who talked the talk -- and who walked the walk -- last Saturday night (March 15, 2014) at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. Who backed up their words with actions and who didn't?

It was a magical night in Texas for Johny Hendricks, winning the welterweight championship in front of his hometown crowd.

"Bigg Rigg" captured the belt he was longing for after beating hard-nosed veteran Robbie Lawler over the course of five grueling rounds in the main event which turned out to be a wicked fight (watch highlights here).

In the co-main event, Tyron Woodley beat Carlos Condit, courtesy of an injury suffered by "The Natural Born Killer." Woodley turns the focus onto himself in the welterweight title picture, in hopes of getting the next shot at the champion (watch their highlights here).

In other action, Hector Lombard dominated Jake Shields for three rounds, Myles Jury bloodied Diego Sanchez, and Ovince St. Preux put Nikita Krylov to sleep faster than a lullaby. does a pretty good job of passing along all the noteworthy pre- and post-fight comments for each event. But as we've done before, let us look back at the words that left the fighters' mouths before they stepped into the cage last weekend.

"I've got a very tough opponent in front of me. If I don't focus all on him, then sort of the same thing can happen. I have another great opportunity, and I don't want to waste it. It was never about Georges. It was always the belt. The belt means everything, so with a win on Saturday, my goal will be reached. You're one punch away from losing, but those are also the more fun fights for me. You don't know what's going to happen, other than that you're going to step into an Octagon and hopefully you get your hand raised."

-- Not only did "Bigg Rigg" reiterate his stance on wanting the belt more so than wanting a win over Georges St. Pierre, he lived up to his words and achieved his goal.

Johny Hendricks is the new champion, with a plethora of fighters at 170 pounds who could challenge him next.

Luckily for him, he doesn't have to worry about any of that right now. He was aware of the consequences, and overcame adversity to earn the strap -- not to mention a scary third round in which Lawler was turning up the volume to 11.

"Yeah, I watched Carlos Condit a lot. I would be a liar to say I don't. The kid is one of my favorites to actually watch compete, the way he brings it, the way he's never counted out of any fight. Until the last 10 seconds of the fight, he's still trying to finish the guy. It's always entertaining to watch him, the heart that he brings. It's the martial-arts spirit, and that's what I respect most about him."

-- You can't say enough good things about Tyron Woodley after his praise of Carlos Condit ... is this a passing of the torch for the welterweight title shot?

"The Chosen One" wasn't guaranteed a shot like Condit might have been. Nevertheless, he's perhaps the most logical option out of all the welterweights. "T-Wood" was vocal about his win not taking away anything from his place in line at the post-fight presser, so it's interesting to see how everything will unfold.

"God created our bodies for us to take care of 'em and to do amazing things and be great. So I've been back to my yoga and it's completely taken me to another level: grappling, striking, everywhere. I have the limberness. I'm able to move like I never have before. I give a lot of credit to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the leading all time scorer in the NBA. He's the one who motivated me to get into this yoga, because he claims it was his secret to playing [at] 42 years old. I went back to what got me in UFC and I've had great results. I truly am better than I've ever been right now."

-- He's nutty, he's funny, and he's one of the sport's most popular characters, but Diego Sanchez probably needs to focus on more than just yoga to achieve the greatness he's aiming for. His best years may be behind him and there's no doubt we'll still watch him fight. It comes down to what he has left in the tank and if Kareem Abdul-Jabbar can further motivate him.

"I've always thought Hector is a prick. Everybody kind of knows that. He's a really good fighter but as a person, everyone who knows him, no one likes him at the gym. He's the guy who goes after all the new guys, tries to break their ribs, break their arms, knock them out. But as a fighter, he's talented."

-- If Jake Shields thought "Lightning" was a prick before the fight commenced, chances are he thinks Lombard is even a bigger ... yeah, bad joke.

At least Shields was honest about Lombard being a good fighter. Maybe there's a bit of truth to his claims, but none of that matters since the Californian was thrown around the Octagon for 15 minutes and nearly punched to death when he decided to stand with the Cuban slugger.

"Like I always say, I believe he's a great fighter. His record speaks for itself. He beat a who's-who in the sport. But, he's boring. This is a sport where you have to entertain fans. They want to ... see you fight. At the end of the day, it's the entertainment business. It's not the winning business. Go up there and show your skills and knock people out. [Shields] doesn't have that."

-- Now, on the other side of the fence, it's not like Lombard really lived up to his words. Maybe Shields is boring, and maybe Lombard knocked out a bunch of dudes you can't even name in Bellator and on the regional circuit. Did he really amaze the fans with his performance? Did he turn heads?

"Lightning" had the perfect opportunity to make the focus about him after what went down in the co-main event, but he couldn't capitalize. Factor that in with Joe Rogan pretty much saying Lombard was playing it safe throughout the fight, and you have your answer.

It takes two to dance ... therefore, it takes two to snore, too.

For full UFC 171: "Hendricks vs. Lawler" coverage, including highlights, results, and recaps, click here.

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