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Tyron Woodley details hand injury, readies for 'road back to throne'

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Woodley: My hand was in a 'state of dislocation' (2:01)

Tyron Woodley details the progression of his hand injury, which originated after throwing a punch during his 2018 fight against Darren Till. (2:01)

The latest episode of Ariel Helwani's MMA Show featured a former UFC champion discussing his thumb injury, a Bellator fighter breaking down his viral knockout and a boxing titleholder's take on potentially facing an MMA fighter.

Here's what you might have missed:

Woodley says hand was 'basically a state of dislocation'

It was announced last week that Tyron Woodley was no longer able to fight Robbie Lawler on June 29 due to a "hand injury." On Monday's episode of Ariel Helwani's MMA Show, the former UFC welterweight champion went into detail on exactly what happened.

"In my career -- I've been fighting since 2005 -- it's the first time I've been committed to a fight and had to be real with myself," Woodley said. "Pray I do not [need surgery]."

Woodley said he injured his thumb while fighting Darren Till in September 2018. He threw a punch and Till attempted to block it. Instead, it "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," he said. "My hand was basically a state of dislocation. Just extreme pain."

Woodley had CMC joint repair but still needed time to have it heal completely. Earlier this month, he was training with his coach Duke Roufus in Milwaukee and it felt "kind of weird" when he threw overhand punches and defended takedowns. He began to question whether it was worth it to fight at the end of June, knowing he wasn't where he needed to be.

"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.

He immediately told the UFC so the promotion could have time to find a replacement. It was sad news for fight fans, as both Woodley and Lawler have exciting styles known to produce action. Lawler did not have a new opponent as of Monday.

Though a timetable for his return is unknown at this point, Woodley isn't sure his next matchup will again be with Lawler, whom he knocked out once prior in 2016 to earn the UFC's welterweight belt.

"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."


Andrade-Namajunas II ... in Denver?

The new UFC strawweight champion is a big fan of the former strawweight champ.

Jessica Andrade won her belt earlier this month in Rio de Janeiro with a knockout in front of an arena full of her compatriots, and for that personal thrill, the 27-year-old Brazilian said she owes a debt of gratitude to Rose Namajunas.

"She did a nice act of kindness to me by going to Rio to defend her belt," Andrade told Helwani through a translator. "She had no obligation to do that."

In fact, Namajunas was only the fourth U.S.-based UFC champion to defend a belt in the home country of a challenger from abroad. And Andrade is ready and willing to return the favor.

"I know she's figuring some stuff out," Andrade said of Namajunas, who in the wake of the loss has been vague about her MMA future. "But if she wants to do it, I would be happy to go to Denver and do it in her hometown, just the same that she did it for me."

If not a Namajuas rematch, Andrade believes her first defense should be against either Tatiana Suarez, No. 5 in the ESPN strawweight rankings, or fifth-ranked Nina Ansaroff -- fighters who clash on June 8 in Chicago.

"Probably the winner of Nina and Tatiana would be the most worthy of the next title fight," Andrade said.

What about the last woman to beat her, No. 3-ranked Joanna Jedrzejczyk, who as champion in 2017 won a unanimous decision over Andrade?

"As much as I would like to have the rematch, I don't think it would be fair at this moment because she is 1-2 at strawweight since we last fought," said Andrade, who hopes to return to the Octagon in September or October. "There are so many girls putting in so much work and climbing up the ranks that I don't think it would be fair for her to just bypass everybody."

Jedrzejczyk has won just one of her past four fights, including her unsuccessful challenge of flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko. Her other two losses came against Namajunas.

Andrade does expect to cross paths with Jedrzejczyk again, though.

"You know how the UFC is," Andrade said. "Eventually, it's going to happen."


A guide to landing a viral knockout

Bellator's Raymond Daniels landed what some consider the year's best finish on May 4. He did a 720-degree flip, paused for a brief second, then landed an overhand right to knock out Wilker Barros. Video of the move caused a frenzy online.

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Daniels spins, then floors opponent with right hand

Raymond Daniels nails Wilker Barros with a kick, then spins in the air before knocking out Barros with a right hand at Bellator Birmingham.

How did he do it? We'll let Daniels explain.

"Originally, I wanted to throw a kick, but as I started spinning, I could feel him going out of range. If I had actually thrown a kick, I would have missed and been off balanced, and he could have hit me like I hit him. So, I didn't want to put myself in a position where I was at a disadvantage, so that's why I landed and followed through with the punch. It happened to have a whole lot of torque and pop on the end of that thing.

"The emotion of it all was unbelievable. I didn't really feel anything [while punching]. It was like a hot knife going through butter. It just sliced through."


Tyson Fury vs. Francis Ngannou? No, thanks

Francis Ngannou grew up in Cameroon dreaming of being a professional boxer, and while he ended up in MMA instead, the heavy-hitting heavyweight and his manager have continued to speak about a boxing future.

But count lineal heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury as not interested. The 27-0-1 Brit, who faces Germany's Tom Schwarz on June 15 in Las Vegas, said during an appearance on the Helwani show he doesn't see Ngannou as a challenge -- in boxing, at least.

"When you've got the heavyweight champions of the world who can't challenge me in a boxing match, I doubt an MMA fighter can challenge me in a boxing match," he said. "Just like I probably couldn't challenge him in an MMA fight."

While both combat sports include standup fighting, Fury doesn't see much point in crossover bouts.

"As we've seen time and time again, when an MMA fighter goes over to boxing, they lose. And when a boxer goes to MMA, they lose," he said. "It's not a game where you can be a world champion boxer and a world champion MMA fighter. I don't think it really works. They're two different games.

"Horses for courses."


Spencer on a Cyborg fight: 'I seem to rise to the occasion'

"I live in the real world, and I knew this was coming. Of course, there's paths that would be different in different divisions, but I knew that once I got to the UFC and once I beat Megan [Anderson], there would be one, two options for me. So, I'm ready for it. Obviously, I have to talk to the UFC about timing and the contractual things that go along with fighting Cris ["Cyborg" Justino]. She's a legend, and I seem to rise to the occasion. I keep surprising myself."

-- Felicia Spencer, a 7-0 former Invicta FC featherweight champion who won her UFC debut on Saturday and could be in line to fight Cyborg next


Leon Edwards vs. ...

British welterweight Leon Edwards is on a seven-fight win streak and looking for his next fight. He would like it to be against ...

Robbie Lawler, who last week saw Tyron Woodley pull out of their scheduled June 29 main event: "Why not step up and take on the former champion, Robbie Lawler? I'm on a seven-fight win streak, so it would be good for him to redeem himself. Why not? Give me six weeks, I go out and beat him, then a title shot."

Rafael Dos Anjos, whom he watched defeat Kevin Lee this past weekend to end a two-fight losing streak: "I watched it very closely, and straightaway I thought, 'That's the fight to make.' I think he's ranked No. 4 in the world now [No. 7 in the ESPN rankings], and I think that's the fight for me to make now. I'd love to fight him in Abu Dhabi on Sept. 7, I think. That'd be a good fight, to co-main event that. So, that's my plan."

So which one of them do you really want, Leon? "Probably the RDA fight. He's a former world champ, as well, but he's higher ranked [than Lawler]."