Now recovered from a broken hand that forced him out of a scheduled UFC 98 fight with Andre Gusmao, UFC light heavyweight Houston Alexander is planning a late summer or early fall return to the octagon.
Alexander (8-4 MMA, 2-3 UFC), who's in a must-win situation after three consecutive UFC losses, never quit training after the injury.
"We spent the down time working on techniques and ran him through a six-week speed and agility program, so other than not hitting anything and not getting to fight, we never missed a beat training wise," Alexander's trainer, Mick Doyle, told MMAjunkie.com (UFC blog for UFC news, UFC rumors, fighter interviews and event previews/recaps | MMAjunkie.com
After bursting on the UFC scene with swift and brutal knockouts of Keith Jardine and Alessio Sakara, Alexander has since suffered first-round losses to Thiago Silva (TKO), James Irvin (KO) and Eric Schafer (submission). Prior to the losing skid, Alexander went 8-0 (with one no-contest) in a nine-fight span.
Continually criticized for his lackluster ground game, Alexander had been training with 100-fight veteran Jeremy Horn for his UFC 98 fight.
"That is going to continue," Doyle said. "We will schedule some more trips out there (to work with Horn) and back to Chicago and Denver for some more ground training now that his hand looks in the clear."
Alexander has been one of the UFC's more marketable stars. The Nebraska-based fighter has garnered a big Midwest following, and news that he donated a kidney to his oldest daughter (one of six kids he raises as a single parent) garnered a lot of mainstream press in recent years.
However, with the losing skid, he desperately needs a win to remain in the UFC.
"He just wants to get back in there and win again, so he is very committed to improving and being able to go wherever the fight goes," Doyle said.
No specific return date or opponent has been determined for Alexander's return.