Tatiana Suarez targeting summer Octagon return from neck injury

Suarez
Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey – USA TODAY Sports

Undefeated UFC strawweight contender, Tatiana Suarez has been out of action since UFC 238 in June of 2019 — with a particularly niggling neck injury forcing the Californian to bring a halt to her title charge.

The victor of the twenty-third instalment of The Ultimate Fighter, the smothering wrestling talent is viewed as a possible future titleholder by many, blitzing her way to the division’s top-five ranks prior to her sidelining. 

Forcing from action for almost two-years, Suarez last featured in a unanimous decision win over Floridian contender, Nina Ansaroff, improving to 8-0 as a professional.

Debuting in the promotion off the back of a TUF 23 tournament victory over Amanda Cooper, Suarez managed a trio of triumphs over Viviane Pereira, Alexa Grasso, and inaugural UFC and Invicta FC strawweight best, Carla ‘Cookie Monster’ Esparza prior to her judging win over Ansaroff.

Suarez, a two-time World Jiu-Jitsu Championship victor in both 2013 and 2015, spoke with MMA Junkie recently, detailing how she hopes to nurse her neck back to one-hundred per cent in the coming months ahead of a projected summer comeback. 

Yes, my team and I are thinking (the) summer,” Suarez said. “At first I thought (the) spring, but I want to make sure my neck will make it through a camp before committing to a fight. I tried to spar and my neck hurt after a few rounds so I cut the session. But, slowly but surely I’m introducing live training back in.

Despite her removal from the official strawweight pile, a couple of eye-catching wins in her expected Octagon return would likely draft the 30-year-old into title contention, with the promotion expected to field a strawweight title matchup of current champion, Zhang ‘Magnum’ Weili, against either former titleholders, ‘Thug’ Rose Namajunas, or the aforenoted, Esparza in the coming months. 

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