Tatiana Suarez, one of the best MMA fighters in the world, is about to return to the Octagon.
Suarez told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani in a video interview published Wednesday that she has received medical discharge from doctors and is aiming for a return to the UFC in September or maybe even August. Suarez has been falling out since June 2019 due to a recurring, bulging disc in the neck.
“I’m super excited to be out there again,” she said. “It’s definitely fun to practice. But it’s just a different competition. Everyone knows that. It’s super exciting just to show what you’re working on.”
Suarez (8-0) said she was cleared for live training in February but then broke her hand and suffered a concussion while wrestling with her boyfriend in her front yard. Those were small setbacks, she said, but she has been training again in the past few weeks and plans to open a training camp “soon”.
When she comes back, Suarez said she plans to try a new department: the flyweight. Suarez had dominated the UFC women’s strawweight division before the injury occurred two years ago. But she said cutting to 115 pounds made her feel weak and tired on the fight night and not as explosive as she did in training. Suarez said she’d love to see what it feels like to compete at 125 pounds, at least initially after her return.
“Maybe I’m a little stronger and more explosive if I’m not shedding too much weight at all,” said Suarez.
Suarez (8-0) has won all five of her UFC fights and was the Ultimate Fighter 23 winner in 2016. The Californian native was about to compete in the 2012 Olympics in wrestling, but the neck injury and battle with thyroid cancer hampered those plans. Suarez, 30, has wins against former UFC strawweight champion Carla Esparza and current flyweight contender Alexa Grasso.
When asked how she thinks she can compete with women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko, one of the top three fighters in the world, Suarez said she believes very well.
“I think I have good wrestling skills [that] can cause trouble, “said Suarez.