Although he has a scheduled fight in October, middleweight contender Jared Cannonier wants to be considered as an alternate for the upcoming middleweight title fight. Cannonier is scheduled to return from a torn pectoral in October and face former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker, who recently picked up a win over Darren Till.
While he’s scheduled to face Whittaker at UFC 254, Cannonier has his eyes on the middleweight title fight between champion Israel Adesanya and contender Paulo Costa. In a recent interview with MMA Junkie Radio, Cannonier revealed he’d like to be considered for an alternate spot for the title fight at UFC 253, which will take place in September.
“I’m ready to be an alternate, and I’m ready for my contender fight. As far as my therapist, he feels more comfortable me actually fighting in 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.” (H/T MMA Junkie)
Cannonier is currently riding a three-fight winning streak, picking up wins over the likes of Jack Hermansson, Anderson Silva, and David Branch. Following his win over Hermansson in September of 2019, Cannonier suffered a torn pectoral muscle in February, as he was preparing for UFC 248. Originally, Cannonier was set to take on Whittaker back at 248, then Till stepped in for Whittaker, but then Cannonier suffered the injury.
Having suffered the injury during grappling training, Cannonier told MMA Junkie that he recently got back into training and he feels that he is where he needs to be and is ready to compete.
“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.”
Whether it’s as an alternate at UFC 253 or against Robert Whittaker at UFC 254 in October, Jared Cannonier sounds more than ready to make his return to the Octagon in what will be around a full year of missed action. There’s no word if the UFC will look for an alternate for UFC 253, but Cannonier certainly should be in consideration for the role.