The time seems to track with Woodley’s history of looking to turn around quick after a loss. Following his defeat against Rory MacDonald, he took a similar three-month break before quickly returning to face Dong Hyun Kim.
In their first meeting, Woodley knocked out Lawler in the first round of UFC 201 to become the welterweight champion. It’s interesting to consider that on that same card, Rose Namajunas lost a decision to Karolina Kowalkiewicz. Time makes a fool of us all.
Both Woodley and Lawler are coming off losses from UFC 235, with Lawler coming through the controversial bulldog choke from Woodley’s training partner Ben Askren.
It would seem that Woodley’s coach Duke Roufus has a good history with figuring out fighters and getting a win over them repeatedly, with Askren defeating Lawler and Pettis beating Thompson. Considering this past, and Woodley’s previous dominance, it seems right to put him in the favorite column.
Considering how booming and contentious the welterweight division is right now, this move by the UFC brings a bit of clarity to the potential matchmaking. It seems like the next move will be Usman vs. Covington, allowing Santiago Ponzinibbio to fight someone else in the top 10.
Meanwhile, Ben Askren vs. Jorge Masvidal seems like a decent option, and with callouts like this who could argue with it.