For Hendricks, and for the UFC, a botched weight cut would've been a catastrophic turn of events for a welterweight division looking to move on from the shadow of its former champion, Georges St-Pierre. And for a few suspenseful hours, the situation looked more dire than promotion officials probably would've liked.
An unsteady Hendricks tipped the scales at 171.5 pounds in his first attempt during UFC 171's official weigh-ins, 1.5 pounds off his intended mark.
"It was just shocking," UFC President Dana White said moments after Hendricks successfully made weight on his second attempt. "Because Johny Hendricks always makes weight, and he's with (Mike) Dolce. Dolce's guys always make weight. The only thing that makes sense is that their scale was off that they were weighing in on at the hotel."
Hendricks managed to drop the extra 1.5 pounds within his allotted two hours due to some light calisthenics, according to Dolce, then successfully hit 170 pounds on the nose during his second attempt.
"Johny's scale might have gotten damaged at the hotel gym earlier today," Dolce commented. "We did light workout and the weight fell off easily."
Nonetheless, UFC officials had already prepared a back-up plan in case Hendricks failed to make weight a second time.
"If Lawler would've won, he would've been champion," White explained. "If Hendricks won, the title still would've been vacant. Obviously not the best scenario to be going into tomorrow, but it is what it is. And I had a good feeling. Those guys, like I said, they're both very professional, and I thought they'd get it done."
Lawler avoided much of the spectacle, hitting his mark at a chiseled 170 pounds on his first attempt.
Though despite a rough day, Hendricks appeared in high spirits once the situation resolved itself, roaring to his elated crowd of supporters and then sprinting out of the building, while White and the gathered UFC officials breathed a heavy sigh of relief -- one disaster averted, at the least.
"This kid's been competing like this for years as a wrestler," White said. "I'm sure he's had to cut weight (in a pressure situation) before, and go back in the room and make it
"The question is, at this point now, does he gas out? I don't know. We'll see tomorrow."