Tatiana Suarez has provided an update on her long-awaited return to the Octagon and named four potential opponents she could face when she makes her comeback.
Since 2019, Suarez has been missing from contention. After emerging victorious in The Ultimate Fighter 23, the Californian established herself as legitimate threat to the strawweight throne with four wins, including against Nina Nunes, Alexa Grasso, and now-reigning strawweight queen Carla Esparza.
After a torrid run of injuries, which saw her suffer a broken hand and a concussion, as well as neck issues, chronic back pain, and knee damage, Suarez has been stuck on the sidelines for three years.
But after a long road to recovery, the highly touted grappler is looking to make the walk to the cage again this year, as her road to a desired champ-champ status gets back underway.
A few months back, Suarez pinpointed this summer, specifically July, as her targeted return. However, after a small setback, the 31-year-old has been forced to adjust her desired timeframe.
“I was doing really well, I was grappling almost every single day. Then, my knee started to get more inflamed when I started doing standup and stuff, so I think I’ll have to push it back a little bit,” said Suarez during an appearance on The Schmozone podcast. “I was thinking maybe July, but now I’m like, maybe September, hopefully, October maybe.”
Suarez Sets Sights On Two July 2 Bouts
When she is finally ready to lace the gloves again, Suarez has her sights set on four possible names, which will be reduced to two after the conclusion an upcoming pay-per-view card.
“The Miesha (Tate) fight, the Lauren Murphy fight, maybe (I fight) the winner of that one? Unless they give her (Tate) a shot after that… I wouldn’t mind either of those two,” said Suarez. “Either those two or I know Jessica Eye was supposed to fight. She was supposed to fight Casey O’Neill — Oh, she’s fighting Maycee Barber, yeah, I could fight either of those two as well.”
Tate, a former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion, is set to test the waters of flyweight at UFC 276, slated for July 2 in International Fight Week. Attempting to jump right into the mix in the division, “Cupcake” will face Murphy, the most recent challenger to Valentina Shevchenko’s title.
Eye, meanwhile, was brutally knocked out by Shevchenko in her most recent title challenge in 2019. Having lost three in a row and slipped to #11 in the rankings, “Evil” will be targeting a rebound against rising contender Barber. Their matchup is also slated for UFC 276.
Should Suarez be ready to step back inside the Octagon in September or October, it stands to reason that, barring any injuries on July 2, the victors from the two matchups mentioned will be prepared to go at around the same time.
Who would you like to see Tatiana Suarez face when she makes her return?