The former welterweight champion was pulled from the highly anticipated rematch on Friday morning, citing a hand injury as the reason. While the severity of his injured hand was unknown, the former champion pulled back the curtain a few hours after the initial announcement.
Broadcasting live on his Instagram, The Chosen One walked fans through the decision to pull out his rematch with Lawler.
A lot of questions about my hand and me not fighting June 29, Woodley said. I dont know if theyre going to reschedule me and Robbie for a different date or if theyre going to actually get him a new opponent. But, I got to make sure I protect my hand. Thats where I make the money with. I have to be confident throwing my moneymaker, my right hand. I toughed it through the last fight, guys, a lot of f**king tape, a lot of avoidance. This time around Ive got to be honest with myself.
The gripping, the grabbing, the posting, the pushing off, the strength, the snapping all of the above was a little bit more difficult. Im 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. Ive got to put myself in the best position.
In terms of competition, Woodley (19-4-1), who knocked then champion Lawler (28-13, 1 NC) in their initial fight at UFC 201 in July 2016, is looking to get back into the win column after seeing current champion Kamaru Usman walk away with his belt at UFC 235 in March.
As of this post, the UFC has yet to confirm a replacement opponent for Lawler.