Tyron Woodley’s quest to recapture his UFC gold will have to wait a little longer.
While the initial diagnosis and severity of his injured limb was unknown, this is no longer the case.
“I have chronic arthritis in my joint right here,” Woodley told TMZ Sports as he pointed to his right thumb. “There’s three joints that enable me to grab and grip. One has chronic arthritis and this one has severe arthritis. There’s a few different ways to heal and fix the problem permanently but it’s something you wouldn’t do if you were still active, because it limits your range of motion and grip.
“The temporary fix is to rehab it, get it stronger, get the flexibility to start to grab and grip, then 10 days before the fight let’s try to do a cortisone shot. So, I have the UFC checking on cities and states that accept and allow you to have cortisone shots.”
In terms of competition, Woodley (19-4-1), who previously earned gold after knocking out Lawler (28-13, 1 NC) in their initial fight at UFC 201 in July 2016, is looking right the ship after seeing current champion Kamaru Usman walk away with his 170-pound championship at UFC 235 in March.
While Woodley initially hoped his past résumé was enough to earn him an immediate rematch against Usman, the UFC quickly moved on and book him against the man known as “Ruthless.” Too bad Woodley has no intention of fighting someone of Lawler’s caliber without the use of both hands.
“If I’m fighting against somebody who’s a brawler and slugger and trying to get me back for what I did to him— took his belt, took his billion dollar pay-per-view, took the platform that he had — and I can’t throw my money maker that knocked him out of the first round with confidence and I can’t grab, I can’t grip, if posting down really injures my hands, then I have to be real with myself,” Woodley said. “This is the first time in 14 years of fighting that I’ve committed to fighting and I’ve not fought.”
As for when he believes fans will see him back inside the Octagon, “The Chosen One” already has a date and venue in mind.
“I’m targeting the August 17 card [at UFC 241] in Anaheim,” Woodley said. “I just want my belt back.”