Johny Hendricks may have captured the vacant Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight title at UFC 171 last March by outpointing Robbie Lawler (video), but it didn't come without a price.
"Bigg Rigg" suffered a torn bicep during his "Fight of the Night" against "Ruthless" in Dallas, Texas, and ultimately went under the knife (see disgusting pics here) to correct the situation a few months later.
Still stuck on the sidelines to be back at 100 percent before making his first-ever title defense, Hendricks told USA Today that it isn't easy to sit and watch the rest of the division duke it out for the right to face him. In fact, it flat out "sucks."
The wrestling powerhouse vents:
"It sucks being on the sidelines, knowing these guys are all fighting to get to me, and I can't do anything about it. I can't train for it, can't get ready for it. The only thing I can do is sit here and wait for them to battle it out. I don't like that."
And though "Bigg Rigg" is anxious to get back into the Octagon, he's had to play the waiting game, hesitantly being patient in order to avoid further injury. The good news is, he is soon expected to get doctor's clearance to train.
But it can't come soon enough.
"They scared me into being a good patient. It's tough for me. Growing up wrestling, you get injured and they expect you back on the mat in a couple weeks unless it's really bad. What I found out is that if I jump the gun, instead of being six weeks in a sling and six weeks recovering, it might turn into 12 weeks in a sling and 12 weeks recovering."
As far as who will be his first challenge once he's ready and able, that will be cleared up soon enough as Matt Brown and the aforementioned Robbie Lawler duke it out in the main event of UFC on FOX 12 on July 26, 2014 for the right to vie for the strap.
Hendricks revealed he has no preference who he fights, saying that going up against either one of them has its advantages.
"If Matt Brown wins, that's awesome because it'd be nice to train for someone new. But if Robbie Lawler wins, I've trained for him before and I can do it again and make some corrections. I could also go into it injury-free this time. That'd be nice."
As far as Rory MacDonald goes, he failed to impress Dana White enough to earn a shot at the title, despite dominating Tyron Woodley this past Weekend (Sat., June 14, 2014) at UFC 174 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (watch it).
Though it was a complete shutout, Hendricks says it wasn't exactly domination on MacDonald's part, but rather a good example of how to nullify your foe.
"He's one of those fighters that he can do that to people. I'm not going to talk trash on anybody, but he makes guys feel awkward, But when someone is doing that, hey, you've got to know that sometimes you have to eat a punch to deliver a punch. Sometimes you've got to say to yourself, 'I am paid to be an entertainer.' In my fights it's not if I get hit; it's when I get hit."
Nevertheless, Hendricks says he has the ability to "make anybody exciting" once they step inside the cage with him, but judging by Brown and Lawler's track record, Hendricks won't have to put in all of the work in order to wow the crowd come fight night.
But who will it be against?