With all of the mayhem occurring in the last two days regarding injuries and new fights for UFC 153, it's easy to forget that the original main event was Jose Aldo vs. Erik Koch. This fight was originally booked at UFC 149 when Aldo pulled out due to injury. The 23-year-old Koch unfortunately had to do the same thing when it was rescheduled, and now he's set to go over a calendar year without a fight. Koch recently did an interview with FightMedicine to talk about what his injury was and what caused it, and in an unbelievable coincidence, he suffered an identical partial MCL tear to that of Dan Henderson.
FightMedicine.net: What injury did you suffer?
Erik Koch: It’s a partial tear of the MCL. It’s exactly what Dan Henderson had.
How did you get your injury?
I was training back in my home town, Cedar Rapids. I was here for a family reunion. I decided to get a little extra training in. We had a really hot, sweaty practice and I was grappling on a wrestling mat. I was trying to pass someone’s guard and my toes got caught on the wrestling mat and my knee ended up going in an awkward way. I heard a pop and immediately after my leg stiffened up. The only ligament damage I had before was years ago in me elbow. My knee got really, really stiff. I couldn’t really straighten it or move it. Then the pain came about 20 minutes later. My knee started swelling up and by the next morning it was immoveable.
Did you see an orthopedic surgeon?
Yeah, I went to Iowa City and they did the MRI and checked the report. Luckily I don’t need surgery, just four weeks of rehab.
As far as when he can train again, it will be very soon.
So the timeline is that you will be cleared to return to training in 4 weeks?
Yeah, 4 weeks of rehab and I should be good. Honestly, the pain isn’t terrible. It’s painful, but it’s more that it’s very uneasy. I can’t really pivot or turn. It feels like it’s about to slip out of place. It feels more weak than anything.
You can read the rest of the interview in the above link. It's a fascinating read and includes his thoughts on the WEC/UFC merger and fighter insurance. That's pretty scary that days apart two different challengers lost their chance at a title fight because of MCL tears.
The injury puts Koch in a very important point of his career. He's only 23, he lacks a marquee win but was given the title shot given his exciting kickboxing style. However, his last fight was almost a full year ago against Jonathan Brookins, and the addition of Frankie Edgar and the rise of Ricardo Lamas complicate his title chances. Perhaps once he's healthy to train again he shouldn't wait on a title shot and battle the likes of Chan Sung Jung, Dustin Poirier, or Lamas to get back into the ring and prove he belongs with the elite of 145, let alone Jose Aldo.
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