If things had gone according to plan, UFC 219 would feature one more dynamite light heavyweight scrap than it currently does, as kickboxer Gokhan Saki was expected to battle Khalil Rountree on the card. Unfortunately, this fight was nixed when Saki was forced to withdraw with an injury.
Saki elaborated on the injury that forced him out of this anticipated fight in a conversation with Peter Carroll of MMAFighting.com.
“This is an old injury that first came about at Glory 1 in Sweden,” Saki told MMAFighting. “Something was wrong about five minutes before the fight. I went to the fight and finished it in one minute, but when I came back to the locker room my knee was swollen.
“I stopped for one week and then I continued training,” Saki added. “With kickboxing, I could never really feel it, but in my UFC fight [with Henrique da Silva], I could feel something go wrong again when I kicked. Maybe it was the movement and the different footwork.”
Saki then recounted the ways in which this injury has reared its head since he joined the UFC fold.
“After the fight [with da Silva] nothing happened for about three weeks, it was just a little bit swollen again,” he said. “Then I started training jiu-jitsu again. One day I was just sitting on my knees for about 15 minutes and it got very swollen again so I went to the hospital.
“They took me to an MRI and they found that I had a bucket handle tear in my meniscus,” he continued. “So there’s just a big hole in the middle of my meniscus.
“I told the doctor that I really wanted to fight on Dec. 30th. I told him even with the injury I wanted to fight. He told me to take one or two weeks rest and then to start training again, but not jiu-jitsu or anything that’s too tough on your knees.
“I took the two weeks off and I flew to Miami to do a camp there and in the first training I hurt it more. I threw a kick, I didn’t turn my leg enough and now the tear is even bigger.”
Finally, Gokhan Saki gave a timeframe for when we’ll see him back in the cage. Apparently, he’s eyeing a March return – perhaps even to a rescheduled bout with Rountree.
“I’m hoping to fight again in March,” he said. “I would love to fight then, in March or April. The recovery going well. Today is five weeks since my meniscus was fixed so in three weeks we can start training again.”
“I want to fight everybody,” he continued. “Khalil was on the menu, so we need to beat him and then go to the next opponent.”
Who do you want to see Gokhan Saki fight next?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 13/12/2017.