In a recent interview with Submission Radio, Jared Cannonier shared a missed opportunity that could have significantly altered his MMA career. He revealed that he had been offered a fight against Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 294, but an unfortunate injury prevented him from seizing the chance. As fate would have it, Chimaev eventually secured a majority decision victory over Usman in the co-main event in Abu Dhabi.
Cannonier explained that he received a call to step in and fight Chimaev. However, before he could confirm his willingness to accept the fight, he suffered an injury that made it impossible for him to compete on just 10 days’ notice. Interestingly, the offer to fight Chimaev was initially presented to Cannonier before it went to Usman, which could have placed him in that pivotal bout.
Cannonier has been a prominent figure in the middleweight top 10 since 2018. He boasts an impressive 7-2 record in the division, with his only losses coming at the hands of Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker. His most recent notable achievement was a split decision win over the current champion, Sean Strickland, just 10 months ago.
When the UFC finally offered him the title shot 11 days before the fight, Cannonier was ready to accept it. He was willing to take the opportunity but wanted to discuss it with his coaches first, as per their usual practice.
However, a cruel twist of fate intervened when he was preparing for a potential takedown by Chimaev during practice. Unfortunately, he suffered an injury to his MCL during a practice session, and it was verified through an MRI. This injury led to a missed opportunity that slipped through his hands just an hour after receiving it.
As a result of the MCL injury, Cannonier won’t be able to fulfill his scheduled matchup against Roman Dolidze at UFC Austin on December 2. He is set to undergo surgery to address his MCL injury, and the December fight is no longer possible. Cannonier has already informed the UFC about the situation, and they are working on making the necessary adjustments.
This turn of events represents a significant setback for Cannonier, who was on a successful run and was close to earning a title shot at UFC 294. Nonetheless, Cannonier’s resilience and determination have been consistent throughout his MMA journey, and he will likely bounce back from this setback.