If the rest of his recovery goes well, Jiří Procházka hopes to return to the Octagon as soon as the summer.
The former UFC light heavyweight champion was set for his first defense against Glover Teixeira when he suffered a serious shoulder injury that required surgery. Given a recovery period between six months to a year, Procházka decided to vacate the title to avoid holding up the division.
After their first attempt to crown a new champion failed—Jan Blachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev fought to a majority draw at UFC 282 this past December—the world’s largest MMA promotion tried again with Texeira and Jamahal Hill, who were tapped for UFC 283 in January. This time, a champion was crowned, as ’Sweet Dreams’ dominated Teixeira en route to a unanimous decision.
For his first defense, Hill has said he wanted Procházka in the summer. And luckily for the new champion, it appears as though ‘Denisa’ is on board with that timeline.
“I’d like to be [back] in this summer or in the end of this summer,” said Procházka in a recent interview on the Top Turtle podcast. “It doesn’t matter. I will watch how it goes, everything, and by that we can fight, maybe earlier, maybe later, maybe whenever it will be best. But I think this summer is real to be ready and to be the champion.”
As he continues with his recovery, Procházka says his main goal is to ‘be in full range’ with his shoulder. And once it is, the 30-year-old expects to return and reclaim the title he once held.
“When I will be back in full power, I will be the champion,” said Procházka. “I am the champion right now, but I will be on paper the champion and I’m looking forward to the next challenges.”
About the author: Kristen King is a writer for Bloody Elbow. She has covered combat sports since 2016. (full bio)