Long-sidelined UFC strawweight Tatiana Suarez has entered the new year with a strong message as she targets a comeback to the Octagon.
While the women’s roster has continued to expand and grow, especially at strawweight with Zhang Weili rising to the top and Rose Namajunas, Yan Xiaonan, and Marina Rodriguez occupying top spots, one missing piece of the puzzle has been Suarez.
The Californian broke on to the scene as one of the UFC’s top prospects when she won The Ultimate Fight 23 strawweight tournament, extending her professional record to an unbeaten 4-0 in the process.
In the subsequent three years, she made four appearances under the UFC banner, rising the ladder with wins over Viviane Pereira, current top-five flyweight Alexa Grasso, two-time champion Carla Esparza, and Nina Nunes.
But Suarez hasn’t made the walk since her sole outing of 2019, with multiple injuries preventing the progression of what promised to be an incredibly successful career in mixed martial arts.
Most recently, the two-time World Jiu-Jitsu Championship gold medalist saw a planned 2021 return opposite now-retired flyweight Roxanne Modafferi collapse after she suffered a knee injury that required surgery.
Having gone through further recovery and rehabilitation, Suarez has reached the end of another journey to full health. And with that, she’s planning on resuming her dominance inside the cage soon enough.
Suarez Reiterates Affirmation For 2023 Return
Late last year, Suarez appeared to confirm her targeted return timeframe in an Instagram interaction. Responding to a fan who asked if we can expect to see her back inside the cage, the 32-year-old named February as the likely month.
And in a similar fashion to former two-time UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones this week, Suarez has opened 2023 with a strong message about her current status and future.
“The best is yet to come……”
Despite finding success at strawweight prior to a string of unfortunate injury setbacks, Suarez has long noted her plan to return at 125 pounds in order to eliminate any weight-cut concerns for her first fight back.
Given the promise she showed following success on TUF, perhaps championship success in both weight classes is a realistic target.
Do you think Tatiana Suarez has what it takes to become a UFC champion?