Wrestling standout, Tatiana Suarez has been out of action since UFC 238 all the way back in July of 2019, with nagging neck injuries hampering a proposed return to the Octagon ever since.
Once ranked as high as #3 in the official strawweight pile following her unanimous decision win over Nina Ansaroff, Suarez was removed from the ratings due to inactivity. In her long-awaited return to the Octagon, the Covina-born grappler wants to test the 125lbs flyweight waters, however.
Speaking with reporters, James Lynch and Kendrick E. Johnson on a recent episode of The1, 2 Podcast — Suarez explained how she wants to see how her body feels at the flyweight limit, detailing how she felt weak come fight night during her time at strawweight, and wants to figure out if the weight cut is a determining factor in how she was feeling.
“I want to see how I feel at 125 (lbs),” Suarez explained. “I’ve never missed weight, not even come close to missing weight. I’ve never had problems making weight… but come fight day, a lot of times I feel tired, and I feel not very strong. I don’t think I cut that much weight because, at the start of my camp, I start at 130 (lbs) and then I get down to 126 and then I cut from there. I don’t think that’s abnormal for a strawweight.“
“But I still think somewhere in that I lose strength, and my cardio doesn’t feel as good,” Suarez said. “When I’m at practice, I never feel tired, I never feel weak, so I’m like, maybe it’s my weight cut.“
Despite her inactivity due to a slew of neck and back injuries, Suarez noted her plans to make inroads toward the flyweight championship. And upon observing former strawweight champion, Jessica Andrade’s unsuccessful title challenge loss to Valentina Shevchenko, she believes she’s got a grappling edge over the Brazilian, which could prove worrisome for the champion.
“I think my grappling, in general, is definitely better than Jessica (Andrade’s) because everybody was like, ‘Jessica would have the upper hand’, and I didn’t think that at all,” Suarez explained. “I just think that Jessica is strong. I don’t think that Jessica is technically the best grappler at 125. I would never say that.“
“I just think she’s very powerful and strong, and I truly believe that my grappling is way beyond hers in terms of techniques,” Suarez said. “So if I fought Valentina (Shevchenko). I don’t think she would be able to impose the same game that she did with Andrade.” (H/T MMA Junkie)
Suarez, the victor of the 23rd. installment of The Ultimate Fighter has featured four times under the UFC’s banner since her tournament success against Amanda Cooper.
Undefeated as a professional with an 8-0 record, Suarez has bested Vivane Pereira, Alexa Grasso, and inaugural UFC and Invicta FC strawweight champion, Carla Esparza prior to her summer 2019 judging victory over Ansaroff.