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Tyron Woodley dismisses Robbie Lawler’s case for title shot: ‘What has he done in this last year besides crawl up in a ball and hide?’

Tyron Woodley has been the UFC’s most active champion over the last 12 months, notching a trio of welterweight title defenses against No. 1 contenders Stephen Thompson and Demian Maia since his title-winning knockout of Robbie Lawler in July 2016. But that run of consistency could soon hit a snag — Woodley revealed Monday on The MMA Hour that he suffered a torn labrum in his shoulder during the opening round of his victory over Maia at UFC 214.

Recovery from a torn labrum generally takes anywhere from several months up to a year, depending on if an individual requires surgery. Woodley said he isn’t sure yet about the severity of his injury or how long he expects to be sidelined, but he knows one thing for certain: considering his recent activity level, the UFC better not institute an interim welterweight title anytime soon.

“I’m going to get a second or third opinion on this shoulder, see what I need to do to get back as fast as I can,” Woodley said Monday on The MMA Hour. “And if anybody says, utters, mumbles, accidentally says the word ‘interim,’ I’m going to lose my sh*t. Because I fought four world title fights in 12 months, and I was prepared to fight five in 18 months coming out in November. So, I dare somebody to say anything about a goddang interim title. I will lose my top, because I’ve seen athletes injured for years, months, never defended — how many belts has Conor McGregor defended?

“How long has (Michael) Bisping played his freaking [knee] is hurt? Like, be for real. How many months has Carlos Condit been out? Since January of the year before? Why is he still in the rankings? When I beat him, he was in the rankings for 14 months in the top-five with no activity. Let me take three days off — people will be quick to shoot me to the injured reserve list. Let’s keep everything consistent, people. Let’s keep everything equal, let’s keep everything the same. Don’t mention an interim title. I am so going to flip a screw.”

Woodley, 35, revealed his injury during an explosive interview Monday, which saw the UFC welterweight champion demand a public apology from UFC president Dana White for White’s criticism of Woodley’s victory over Maia. Woodley said White needed to apologize or he would “start leaking some sh*t that people don’t want to be out in the wind,” adding, “they know what I’m referring to. I’m due a public apology.”

Regardless, Woodley’s next step, for now, is uncertain. With his shoulder injury likely precluding him from fighting at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 4 at UFC 215, as Woodley initially hoped to do, “The Chosen One” is unsure how long — if at all — he will be forced to bide his time on the sidelines while he makes his recovery.

“I don’t know that I’m going to be out,” Woodley said. “I think I’m going to talk to the doctor, obviously they want me to get to rehab.

“So I’m going to start rehabbing. It could be situation where I only have to do rehab (and not surgery), and that’s what I’m hoping and praying for. I’ll be back. I rehab fast anyway. I rehab just like I train, I’ll be there two or three times a day, every single day, Sunday through Saturday, because this is what I do. And people just want to see me on the bottom, they don’t want to see me on top. They wish somebody else was the champion. But guess what? It ain’t going to happen.”

For now, it also remains unclear who Woodley would even fight once he is cleared to return. Prior to UFC 214, White promised that the winner of Woodley vs. Maia would face returning welterweight superstar Georges St-Pierre in a potentially lucrative title fight, however, White changed his mind on Saturday night, instead handing the St-Pierre fight back to UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping due to White’s displeasure with Woodley’s performance.

White then floated out Lawler, who defeated Donald Cerrone via unanimous decision at UFC 214, as the next likely contender for Woodley’s title. But Woodley doesn’t see any realistic reason why Lawler deserves the fight.

“Why do I fight Lawler? What has he done in this last year besides crawl up in a ball and hide?” Woodley asked. “That’s what Ronda Rousey did. He didn’t do that when he knocked out everybody else. I didn’t do that when I got knocked out. I came back, I shook myself else off, I got myself back up.

“I just don’t feel like someone that’s taken a year off, as much as I know Dana loves Robbie and the fans love Robbie — I love Robbie, Robbie’s a dope fighter, we were friends before that fight, I feel bad that we haven’t really communicated that much since then — but I just don’t feel as if a fighter who I knocked out in 46 seconds takes a year off, (then) comes back and wins a fight kinda close, and jumps right back into the title picture. So, there’s no clear contenders right now.”

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