Jared Cannonier will face Robert Whittaker at UFC 254 on October 24, but will be willing to serve as backup for the upcoming Israel Adesanya vs. Paulo Costa middleweight title fight.
Heading into his fight with Whittaker, Cannonier hasn’t fought in almost a year. “The Killa Gorilla” last beat Jack Hermansson by knockout in the second round of their September bout in 2019. Since then, the 36-year old suffered from a torn pectoral muscle that kept him out of action.
Following a successful recovery, Cannonier is ready to fight again, even if it’s on short-notice against Adesanya or Costa. He revealed that he would like to be considered an alternative for their upcoming title fight in September at UFC 253.
“I’m ready to be an alternate, and I’m ready for my contender fight,” Cannonier said to MMA Junkie. “As far as my therapist, he feels more comfortable me actually fighting the octagon in October. The more time the better for the repair, so October is the time we talked about. … Hopefully with that offer, the prospect of being the alternate for the title fight, so things are happening. I’m back, hold tight, and get ready.”
Cannonier explained how he tore his pectoral muscle during training in an effort to improve his ground game and remain undefeated.
“Grappling was the last thing that I re-incorporated in my training, like wrestling,” Cannonier said. “That’s how I tore the pec in the first place. On top of that, personally, I wanted to get back to punching and kicking things and doing that part of the game.
“I’ve been grappling for about a month-and-a-half now, and I could’ve been grappling way before that, but I’m listening to my doctor and to my therapist, and we’re taking things slow. And like I said, I’m back and I feel 100 percent. I haven’t had any issues with it yet, so grappling was the last thing I incorporated. That was the last hurdle. That was the last test.”
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