Jared Cannonier wanted to return sooner, but the first surgery to repair his broken arm didn’t work.
In the first minute of his fight against Robert Whittaker in October, he broke his arm. He ended up losing a decision and went for surgery. Unfortunately, he revealed the first surgery didn’t work which meant he needed another one.
“The first attempt, the surgery didn’t take,” Cannonier said at media day. “It was declared a non-union, so we had to do the surgery again with some added medical wizardry, magic stuff, and did a bone graft, gave me a bone stimulator to help with thing. So, you know, just focusing on recovery, focusing on not getting too far out of shape, and with the help of the physical therapists, implementing a strength-and-conditioning regimen at the same time as recovering the arm.”
“It was great, it was fun,” Cannonier continued. “It was another step in the journey, if you will, as opposed to a hitch in the wheels or a step back or anything like that.”
Once Cannonier was healthy, he focused on returning and he will headline UFC Vegas 34 on Saturday against Kelvin Gastelum. It’s an intriguing matchup and for Cannonier, he says he plans to prove he is still one of the best middleweights.
“As far as my energy goes, I’m picking up right where I left off,” Cannonier said, “You know, I’m a better fighter than I was back then. Even going through the injuries, I’ve gotten better, and no, I didn’t take any steps back. No. Losing that fight to Robert the way that I lost it, can’t nobody take anything away from me with that.”
Despite the fact Cannonier is fighting down in the rankings, he believes a win over Gastelum will put him back into title contention. Israel Adesanya has also talked openly about him as a potential opponent which will only help him get that title shot.