Tatiana Suarez Medically Cleared After Injury, Targeting September for Next UFC Fight

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVMay 19, 2021

Tatiana Suarez, left, spars with Carla Esparza during their strawweight mixed martial arts bout at UFC 228 on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)
AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter

Tatiana Suarez announced Wednesday that she is poised for a UFC return after two years on the shelf.

In an interview with ESPN's Ariel Helwani (h/t ESPN's Marc Raimondi), Suarez divulged that she has been medically cleared to return from a bulging disc in her neck that has prevented her from competing since June 2019.

Regarding her impending return, Suarez said: "I'm super excited to get back out there. It's fun to practice, for sure. But it's just different competing. Everybody knows that. It's super exciting to just show what you're working on."

Prior to getting injured, the 30-year-old Suarez owned a career professional record of 8-0, including a 5-0 mark in the UFC.

Suarez, who previously competed in the strawweight division, won the 23rd season of The Ultimate Fighter and went on to beat some notable fighters, including former UFC women's strawweight champion Carla Esparza.

Despite her prior success, Suarez said she plans to make the move up to flyweight, noting: "Maybe if I'm not cutting too much weight at all, I'll be a little more stronger and explosive."

Suarez told Helwani that she was actually cleared back in February but suffered a broken hand and a concussion while wrestling with her boyfriend. She added that she returned to training several weeks ago and plans to start a training camp "soon."

The California native is also an accomplished wrestler who nearly competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics, and she will look to use those grappling skills to her advantage in a higher weight class.

Suarez's most recent fight was a unanimous-decision win over Nina Ansaroff at UFC 238.

If Suarez is able to make a successful transition to the flyweight division, the ideal endgame for the UFC could be a title fight between Suarez and reigning flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko, who is in the midst of a seven-fight winning streak.