Come March 15, the UFC will have it's first new welterweight champion in six years.
In the wake of longtime champion Georges St-Pierre's Friday announcement that he will vacate the title since he's held since April, 2008, the UFC will crown a new champion at UFC 171.
Hendricks, of course, is coming off a controversial loss to St-Pierre at UFC 167 on Nov. 16. Hendricks lost a split decision to St-Pierre in a bout many feel Hendricks won, to the point that it kicked off a heated and continuing debate of MMA's use of the 10-point must system.
Prior to the GSP loss, Hendricks (15-2) had won six consecutive fights.
As for Lawler (22-9, 1 NC), this is his golden opportunity to finally cash in on the title hopes predicted for him a decade ago. A can't miss-star who washed out of the UFC in 2004, Lawler has made the most of his return to the UFC. His victory over Rory MacDonald at UFC 167 was his third straight win since returning to the company in February.
On Friday's media call, White explained why he chose Lawler for the spot instead of former UFC interim and WEC champ Carlos Condit.
"Condit just had a shot at the title against Georges, and he had a shot against Hendricks. Robbie Lawler just beat the guy everyone wanted to see beat GSP. I'm working on something else for Carlos Condit."
Update: During the conference call, White said that the Jon Jones vs. Glover Teixeira light heavyweight title fight was still the main event of UFC 171. Later, on Twitter, White said Jones-Teixeira would be moved to UFC 172, location and date to be announced.