Jared Cannonier’s return to action is on schedule.
In the thick of the middleweight title picture, Cannonier’s run hit a hurdle when he tore a pectoral muscle in February. Prior to that setback, he’d scored consecutive finishes over Jack Hermansson, Anderson Silva and David Branch.
Like the rest of the world, Cannonier is biding his time in coronavirus quarantine. He said self-isolation has mostly worked out since he hasn’t been able to return to full-time training during injury rehab.
“I got a basketball goal, some punching bags (and) some other workout equipment here to keep myself active,” Cannonier said on a recent episode of The A-Side live chat. “My physical therapist is awesome; he’s doing a hell of a job. ARIS Physical Therapy is the best (I’ve felt), and when I come back, it’s gonna show.”
It’s not the first time he’s needed extra medical attention. His previous injuries include a broken hand, dislocated shoulder and a torn labrum. The latter kept him out of action for over one year.
Cannonier expects to return in the fall. If that schedule holds, it will have been about 12 months since he beat Hermansson in the main event of UFC Copenhagen in Denmark. He’s being patient when it comes to recovering from his pectoral injury and expects to be back training at full speed by June.
“It’s a test,” Cannonier said. “I’m throwing punches with it and stuff. I’m not going 100 percent yet. I would say the pec is maybe 60, 65 percent, so right now we’re working. I maintain a lot of the range of motion, a lot of flexibility.
“The one thing I can tell now is that the shoulder (and) the pec (are) still weak, so we’re strengthening right now. Maybe a month and a half, another two months of that, (and) then I can be back to training full time. You know, full-on training.”
One thing Cannonier is not doing with his free time is engaging in verbal feuds with fellow middleweight contenders, or campaigning for a shot at current champion Israel Adesanya. Although he was mentioned by Adesanya and Darren Till as a potential opponent, and he was briefly enlisted to fight ex-middleweight champion Robert Whittaker at UFC 248, he’s keeping quiet. He said he doesn’t see the purpose of talking trash or calling for specific opponents. As he’s often said, he only wants a title fight, or fights that get him closer to that goal.
“I have nothing against them – ain’t no point in having that animosity,” Cannonier said. “I don’t need that sort of energy to fuel my fight. I use joy to fuel my fight. I love this. I don’t need to be mad at you to get in there and fight you. I need this to be honest.
“You know, I quit my job. I quit a career with the federal government so I could focus purely on this, because this is The Matrix I want to live in. Not their Matrix, not your Matrix, not his or her Matrix, my Matrix. And if you can’t get on the same wave, then like (New Jack City character) Nino Brown said, ‘You either roll with me or get rolled over.’”