As so often is the case, yet another fighter who has been publicly tapped for a title shot, has seen that championship fight get kicked down the road.

Yes, as many thought would be the case, it looks as though the UFC is going to book Robbie Lawler-Johny Hendricks III, and not Lawler- Rory MacDonald II next.

If you recall, UFC boss man Dana White said MacDonald had locked up a title shot, after he took out Tarec Saffiedine in impressive fashion back in October. Since the Lawler-Hendricks rematch at UFC 181 was so ridiculously close, however, calls for a third fight between the two have been widespread.

The UFC hasn’t made any official announcement regarding it’s plans for Lawler’s first title defense, but here is what Ariel Helwani had to say in the latest edition of “UFC Tonight” (quote via FOX Sports 1 press release):

“I talked to Rory last night if he was getting ready for the title shot and he said nope, he’s not getting a title fight. The UFC called him last week and told him he wouldn’t be fighting for it. He was pretty disappointed it. I called Hendricks’ manager to see if they’ve been told about a trilogy fight, and he hasn’t heard anything yet from the UFC.”

While some might wonder why the UFC hasn’t talked to Hendricks’ camp yet, if MacDonald’s been told he’s not next, then the rubber match is almost certainly in the cards. After all, it’s a fight that fans want to see, and not long ago, Lawler relayed that since he’s 1-1 with “Bigg Rigg”, the two need to “figure this one out.”

Lawler has also said that he’d like to take a little break, but that he hopes to fight in May, June or July.

So, this is an interesting development, but not a surprising one either. Now it remains to be seen who the UFC books to fight MacDonald, as increasingly, the promotion looks to keep contenders busy, rather than have them wait on the sidelines. Especially since the UFC holds so many, many cards these days, they need to have their talent staying busy and selling tickets at the same time.

MacDonald has long talked of his desire to avenge his 2010 loss to Carlos Condit…Maybe that’s a possibility, if Condit’s ready to go in the coming months, after undergoing knee surgery earlier this year.