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Johny Hendricks to fight Robbie Lawler at UFC 171 for UFC welterweight title

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According to a Dec. 13 post from MMA Fighting, Johny Hendricks has been tapped to fight Robbie Lawler at UFC 171 for the newly-vacant UFC welterweight title belt.

The fight is set to go down on March 15 at the American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Texas.

UFC President Dana White made the announcement that Hendricks will fight Lawler during a conference call to reveal that Georges St-Pierre would be taking a leave of absence from active MMA competition.

With St-Pierre taking an extended leave, he was forced to make the tough decision to vacate the welterweight title.

"I don't want to say retirement, because it's not retirement," St-Pierre said. "I'd say it's a break. I need a break to live a normal life. If I want to come back, one day if I feel like it, I will come back stronger. One of the thing's is that athletes announce retirement and come back," he said. "I'm a man of my word. If I want to come back, I will."

St-Pierre says he has a good relationship still with White, so he hasn't ruled out the possibility of returning someday down the road.

"As for Dana White, I'm not upset at Dana," St-Pierre said. "He's a promoter, he's someone that is extremely intelligent, and I am on very good terms with Dana [White]. He does his work. What he wants is to make a fight that is in the best interests of the UFC. Unfortunately, I am breaking those plans because I need a break."

So with St-Pierre out for an extended period of time, Lawler and Hendricks will both have the opportunity to prove they are the best in the UFC's welterweight division.

Hendricks is coming off a controversial split-decision loss to St-Pierre in the main event of UFC 167, while Lawler looks to extend his three-fight win streak.

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