UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks is now the man on top of the mountain at 170 pounds. And he’s preparing for the best of the best to come after him.

Hendricks, who recently underwent surgery to repair a torn bicep, is hopeful for a return to action before the end of the year. In the meantime, he wants the UFC to know anybody they put before him, he’ll face.

“I don’t care who I fight,” said Hendricks, during a recent interview with MMAjunkie.com. “Now that I’m at the top, I know I’m going to have to run through everybody; and that’s what I plan on doing.

“Whoever the UFC thinks is the No. 1 contender, let’s fight them. Get them through and them move on to the next one.”

Who that No. 1 contender is appears to be another issue. Rory MacDonald, Hector Lombard and Tyron Woodley have all laid claim to the title, while Nick Diaz continues to push for another shot at the belt – despite being retired.

Hendricks also went the distance with Robbie Lawler for the vacant championship, so “Ruthless” could vault right back into contention if he defeats Jake Ellenberger later this year.

“How many people are claiming they deserve a shot at me?” Hendricks asked. “I’ll be out for a little bit longer, so I would like to have them all fight one more time (to determine a challenger).”

As for an exact return date, “Bigg Rigg” plans on listening to his doctor, saying, “I’ll return anywhere from September to November. I know that’s a huge spread, but if I’m healing up quickly, then September is easy.

“Then again, I don’t want to push it too quick because if I re-injure it, I’ll be out even longer.”