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Arnold Allen ‘very frustrated’ by recurring injuries, still targeting a 2022 return and top-5 opponent

Arnold Allen is a bit frustrated with how things are going for him at the moment.

In March, Allen scored the signature win of his career when he knocked out Dan Hooker in the first round of the UFC’s return trip to London. The win was Allen’s ninth in a row and put him on the cusp of title contention. With the UFC returning to London this past month, many expected Allen would once again get the call.

Unfortunately for “Almighty,” lingering issues with his hands prevented him from getting a second shot at fighting in front of the hometown crowd.

“It’s still these fragile things, it was just a bit too soon,” Allen said recently on The MMA Hour, showing off his hands. “It was both hands this time. Dan’s got a hard head. I’ve just got to be patient I guess. I broke this one [left hand] against Sodiq [Yusuff] and I guess it wasn’t perfect back in the Hooker fight. Then I had more issues in both hands. Then I had two cortisone shots recently in [my right hand] and one in [my left]. Then it was feeling good for like two weeks when I had steroid hands, and then I started sparring again and I hurt them again. So now I’m back. So slowly but surely, we’ll get there.”

Injuries have been an ongoing issue for Allen, who has only managed to fight multiple times in a year once in his seven-year UFC career.

Those struggles have made it difficult for Allen to build any momentum, and so despite being undefeated in the UFC, Allen is still only the No. 9 ranked featherweight in the MMA Fighting Global Rankings. The injuries are a fairly major setback to his career, and even Allen admits to being frustrated by how things keep playing out for him.

“My whole career I’ve been very frustrated. But when I sit there and I really think about it, it’s going really well, so I can’t really complain,” Allen said. “A lot of people send me messages, or I’m tagged in comments, people complaining or talking crap saying I only fight once a year. And I get it, I do. But it’s like, I don’t want to.”

Allen admitted to being “gutted” that he didn’t get the chance to fight in London. But that’s not the only chance that’s eluding him. With featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski recovering from injury and targeting a lightweight title shot, there are talks of an interim title fight between Yair Rodriguez and Josh Emmett. Allen, who currently has the second-longest win streak in the division behind Volkanovski, is not in that conversation.

Once again, it’s all largely due to his lack of activity.

“I think I’m easily forgotten because I’m not very active and I don’t talk about it a lot,” Allen said. “And also, when I’m sitting here sort of unable to fight, I’m not going to be calling things out and be like, ‘Oh, I deserve this and I want that.’ And if a contract comes through, I can’t actually take it. So yeah, if I’m 100 percent and firing on all cylinders, I’d probably be pushing for something, but I’m not, so I can’t.”

Nonetheless, Allen believes things could be changing soon.

Though he’s still nursing his hand injuries, Allen intends to fight once more this year, and given his win streak and status in the division, he believes that when he does come back, he will finally get a chance for that marquee win that can earn him a seat at the table.

“It would be nice [to be in the mix], but I’m confident I’m going to fight this year and optimistic it’s going to be one of those top-five guys,” Allen said. “So with a win over one of those boys, for sure, I don’t think there’s any reason I don’t get a shot at something good.”

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