Former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley was dead-set on reclaiming the 170-pound title after his scheduled rematch against Robbie Lawler at UFC Minneapolis this June. Those plans are now unfortunately scrapped when “The Chosen One” was forced to pull out due to injury on Friday.
Woodley went on to explain in detail his reasons behind this difficult decision through an Instagram live broadcast after the announcement was made.
“A lot of questions about my hand and me not fighting June 29,” Woodley said (transcript via MMA Junkie). “I don’t know if they’re going to reschedule me and Robbie for a different date or if they’re going to actually get him a new opponent, but I got to make sure I protect my hand. That’s where I make the money with. I have to be confident throwing my moneymaker, my right hand.”
Woodley has apparently been dealing with the same injury since his title defense against Kamaru Usman at UFC 235 in March, where he lost via unanimous decision.
“I toughed it through the last fight, guys, a lot of (expletive) tape. This time around I’ve got to be honest with myself,” he said. “The gripping, the grabbing, the posting, the pushing off, the strength, the snapping – all of the above was a little bit more difficult.
“I’m going to make sure I put myself in position to be successful. At the end of the day, I got to get that belt back. I’ve got to put myself in the best position.”
After Woodley pulled out, welterweight contenders like Leon Edwards and Darren Till immediately expressed their intentions to step in as replacement.