UFC champ Johny Hendricks recovering more quickly than expected

Johny Hendricks could return from a torn bicep as soon as September.

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Johny Hendricks might be ahead of schedule.

The UFC welterweight champion’s rehab from bicep surgery is going very well and he should be back to light training in just three weeks, Hendricks’ manager Ted Erhardt told UFC Tonight’s Ariel Helwani. Hendricks is shooting for a fall return — sometime from September to November. Initial estimates had him coming back in November.

Hendricks (16-2) injured his right bicep before his UFC 171 title fight with Robbie Lawler on March 15 in Dallas. During the bout, he suffered a full tear and ended up winning a tight unanimous decision anyway. He had surgery just days after the event.

The welterweight belt was vacated late last year by Georges St-Pierre, who is on hiatus. Hendricks lost a decision to GSP in November, though many believe he should have gotten the nod from the judges.

It’s unclear who Hendricks, 30, will face when he returns. The No. 1 contender spot could end up going to the winner of a fight between Tyron Woodley and Rory MacDonald at UFC 174 on June 14 in Vancouver. Woodley is coming off a victory over former top contender Carlos Condit at UFC 171.