RIO DE JANEIRO -- Nothing is going to stop Duda Yankovich.
Yankovich, a former WIBA light welterweight boxing champion who is signed with Invicta Fighting Championships, suffered a stroke during a training session at Team Nogueira in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 9. She was rushed to a hospital and underwent surgery.
Eight days later, Yankovich showed up at the gym.
"It’s good to be back," Yankovich told MMAFighting.com on Wednesday. "I was scared, but everything was done on the right time. We’re subject to this. It happens. It was good that it happened inside the gym and we had people that knew it was a stroke and got me the medical assistance I needed. I’m fine now.
"You can’t foresee a stroke, it can happen to anyone. We will do more exams to find out what really happened, because a stroke is not a common thing to happen to young people. It just happened."
The Serbia-native fighter, who cut down from bantamweight to flyweight for her last MMA bout in Brazil, can’t return to sparring yet.
"I’m cleared to do normal activities, but I can’t train anything with impact yet," she said. "I can’t box or train muay thai, but I’m cleared to do technical training and work out. I will keep doing my normal activities. Nothing’s gonna stop me."
Every Team Nogueira fighter stopped training to talk to Yankovich as soon as she stepped inside the gym, and heavyweight legend Rodrigo Nogueira was one of them.
"I called the hospitals and we rushed her to the hospital right away," "Minotauro" told MMAFighting.com. "She underwent surgery 80 minutes after she had the stroke. The doctor said she avoided sequelae because we helped her right away.
"I have to thank my coach Vander Valverde, who recognized the symptoms, and ‘Minotauro’ for helping me," Yankovich added. "We have angels in the sky that protect us, and we have angels who walk among us. I was saved by my friends, and I have to thank my student Andre Elias, who was there to help me with the toughest part, financials. I can’t thank them enough."