The Ultimate Fighter season 23 winner Tatiana Suarez has looked like a future champion ever since first stepping foot inside the Octagon in 2016. Unfortunately, it’s been quite some time since we last saw her in action.
In recent years, the 115-pound strawweight division in the UFC has become arguably one of the best that the promotion has. One of the big reasons for that has been the emergence of talented rising stars such as the 8-0 Suarez.
With a strong wrestling pedigree, Suarez has had little to no struggle against anyone put in her way to this point. If anything, her own body has been her biggest obstacle to overcome.
Suarez’s last win came over Nina Ansaroff via unanimous decision at UFC 238 in June 2019. She’s been taking care of a nagging neck injury in the time that’s followed.
With fans hoping and speculating for the Covina, California native’s return in 2021, UFC President Dana White provided a quick update earlier this week.
During a live fan Q&A on ESPN+ with Laura Sanko, White answered a question about Suarez noting that she recently messaged him. White claimed that Suarez’s neck is doing much better these days and that a return to action is being targeted.
The top strawweight contender herself offered up further detail on Thursday.
“Yes, my team and I are thinking summer,” Tatiana Suarez told MMA Junkie. “At first I thought spring, but I want to make sure my neck will make it through a camp before committing to a fight. I tried to spar and my neck hurt after a few rounds so I cut the session. But, slowly but surely I’m introducing live training back in.”
Of Suarez’s five UFC fights to this point, she’s managed to finish three of her opponents — two by submission, one by TKO. Most notably, the victory before her last came dominantly over former UFC champion Carla Esparza.