With the UFC's summer packed with welterweight contendership bouts it seems odd to go all in this early.
With Rory MacDonald set to face Tyron Woodley at UFC 174 in June and Hector Lombard fighting Dong Hyun Kim Aug. 23 in China, UFC president Dana White anointed the winner of July's clash between Matt Brown and Robbie Lawler to be next for welterweight champion Johny Hendricks.
"We got Robbie Lawler who just came off a controversial loss to the champion, and number one (Lawler) is facing number five (Brown)," White told UFC.com. "Robbie just beat the number five and number six guys in his wins, right? And he was in a controversial fight with the champ, so he deserves this fight. If Matt Brown beats Robbie Lawler then he just beat the number one contender and he gets the fight."
White's complete faith in the pair's fan-friendly style seem to have made the decision an easy one.
"Two guys - two nasty, mean, viscous, nasty guys who love to bang - in their prime, number one and number five, banging it out for the chance to fight for the title. I love it," White said. "It's the best fight we could have made, and thank God Lawler is such a stud he'll turn around so fast and take this fight.
"Those are the kind of guys I love to watch fight, and I know those are the kinds of guys fans love to watch fight. That's why everyone is so pumped about this fight because it's two guys with the same style, two guys with the same mentality, and two absolute total bad asses. I love it."
Woodely, who believed he had done enough to secure a title shot in his win over Carlos Condit at UFC 171 in March, reportedly sent White a concerned text message 'wondering where he stood in a crowded and talented welterweight division.' According to White, the winner of Woodley-MacDonald could earn the title slot behind the victor of Brown-Lawler. Another of White's scenarios could see the winner of Lombard-Kim face the winner of Woodley-MacDonald to determine the next contender. Any way you slice it, Woodely has his work cut out for him.
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A night out. Renzo Gracie details the night club scuffle that led to his recent arrest. 'He chickened out. I wish he had put a fight. Why I'm so frustrated, I was expecting a fight when I tackled him.'
Rematch. Raphael Assuncao says he deserves to be T.J. Dillashaw's first title defense after defeating him seven months ago in Brazil. 'He said he deserved to win the first fight, so it's the perfect finale.'
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Get well soon.
*Life is tough, but I'm tougher*~ time to make f***ing lemonade! pic.twitter.com/6TT4p45lY7— Alpha Cat Zingano (@CatZingano) May 27, 2014
Surgery day. Boo. Carpal tunnel http://t.co/dRL11jwhO8— Chris Leben (@cripplerufc) May 27, 2014
Just got out of amnesia. Lol. Few more weeks then back here again for the other hand http://t.co/DHPGoVeHkd— Chris Leben (@cripplerufc) May 27, 2014
Great Day great News , it's A GIRL!!!!!!! Finally I got a group of trained Assassins Ready to Watch over #championfamily God is Good— Edward Alvarez (@Ealvarezfight) May 27, 2014
This morning in Paris I ran into one of my favorite actors- Owen Wilson! Big fan of Wedding Crashers http://t.co/d4FmFWWmWD— Georges St-Pierre (@GeorgesStPierre) May 27, 2014
1st recipient of the gladiator helmet award is Brooklyn. Showing exceptional heart & determination at a tournament. http://t.co/9ESLR8HVuO— Evan Dunham (@evandunham155) May 28, 2014
Please please please I'm begging the fans please help make this fight. Dislike me or like me just please make this fight happen— Will Brooks (@illwillbrooks86) May 27, 2014
If you're interested.
Join me at 7 pm cet 4 a reddit AMA http://t.co/LWDgZ9LX7v— Alexander Gustafsson (@AlexTheMauler) May 27, 2014
Tito Ortiz (@titoortiz) May 27, 2014
Not just bears. (NSFW-ish)
Jeremy Stephens (@LiLHeathenMMA) May 27, 2014
Announced yesterday (May 27 2014)
cancelled Germaine de Randamie vs. Milana Dudieva at UFC 174
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today's Fanpost of the Day comes via Da Headbanger.
First of all, many congratulations to T.J. Dillashaw on his unexpected victory over Renan Barao. I'm sure for him it wasn't unexpected, but for the vast majority of the rest of the MMA universe it was a complete shock. So hats off to him.
After completely dominated a champion that was expected to rule the bantamweight division with an iron fist for a long time, the debate of who Dillashaw should face next has been raging. Should Barao get an immediate rematch as that was his first loss since 2005? Should Raphael Assuncao get next considering he was the original choice to face Barao until it was revealed Assuncao had a rib injury? Or should Dominick Cruz get a chance to reclaim the belt he never truly lost as he had to relinquish it due to injury?
First, I want to point out that this is a good problem for the UFC to have. You would rather have to many guys with a claim for a title shot than a field with no one who truly stands out as a contender.
After that though, I feel as though the option should be obvious. You gotta go with Assuncao. It isn't because he was the original option, though that certainly helps his cause in his claim to the next title shot. His 6 fight winning streak helps him out as well which is currently the longest in the division if you are strictly counting UFC fights (Cruz is at 9 if you include WEC). But the fact that he owns a victory over Dillashaw is the biggest trump card he owns over the others. Was it a controversial decision. Hell yes! All the more reason why people want to see it!
Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me up on Twitter @SaintMMA and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.