Prochazka opted to vacate his UFC light heavyweight title after suffering a severe shoulder injury, which required surgery. To crown a new champion, the UFC 282 co-main event between Jan Blachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev was a promoted to a headlining title fight, but a split draw left the belt with no owner.
As a result, White matched up former champ Glover Teixeira with Jamahal Hill at UFC 283, where Hill battered the Brazilian to become champion. With Prochazka still recovering, White said there’s no need for him to rush.
“I’m not pushing him to return,” White said at Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 218 post-fight news conference. “I want him to take as much time as he needs, and I don’t want him to push that shoulder. I don’t want him to feel like there’s a timeline where we need him back. The timeline is as soon as he’s 100 percent healthy. I do not want him to rush or push it.”
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Prochazka (29-3-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC), who won the title in the 2022 Fight of the Year against Teixeira at UFC 275, posted a video message to Hill warning him that he’s coming. White said the title shot is his regardless of when he comes back.
“Yeah, I mean, if he’s ready, but I don’t want him to feel like he needs to be ready to get that fight,” White added. “Whoever has the title when he’s 100 percent healthy, that fight’s waiting for him.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC Fight Night 218.