The hand injury that forced Tyron Woodley to pull out of his rematch with Robbie Lawler dates back to his last successful title defense against Darren Till at UFC 228.
During an appearance on "Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show", Woodley explained that the ailment arose when Till attempted to block a punch in the September 2018 bout, and his fist “hit the hard part of his skull and it hit the joint of my thumb.”
"It popped the bone up -- it didn't break it -- but that's where all of the ligaments are attached," Woodley said. "My hand was basically a state of dislocation. Just extreme pain.”
Woodley had the joint repaired and returned to action at UFC 235, where he relinquished the welterweight crown in a decision loss to Kamaru Usman on March 2. However, “The Chosen One” noticed during recent training sessions that the hand didn’t feel exactly as it should during certain movements.
"It got to a point where I was like, 'Am I really going to be able to do this fight? Am I going to avoid properly rehabbing my hand again and maybe further damaging it?’" Woodley said.
Woodley’s timetable for a return is unclear, and he isn’t sure if Lawler will be the opponent when he is ready. Woodley claimed the welterweight throne with a first-round knockout of Lawler at UFC 201 in July 2016.
"This fight wasn't as much for me as it was for Robbie," Woodley said. "I don't need to prove anything. This is a guy I took his belt from. I took his ability to earn PPV. I took his ability to have a larger platform and fight. He wants this fight back. For me, it was just me making a strong statement to the UFC and everybody else.
"I'm on the road back to throne. I'm ready to get my belt back. I want to go back out there and take what's mine.”