UFC fighters are not new to injuries. They often have to cope with damage sustained in the octagon. Apart from the usual shots absorbed, there are certain injuries that pose a grave threat to a fighter's career. While some have had to prematurely hang up their gloves owing to a career-ending injury, others have miraculously overcome such obstacles to make a return to the cage.
UFC veteran Chris Weidman is the most recent example of a fighter suffering a frightening injury. In one of the most gruesome incidents in UFC history, Weidman's shin snapped into two as his opponent Uriah Hall checked a leg kick. While the chances of a UFC return initially appeared slim for the 36 year old, he seems well on the road to recovery. In a recent video posted on Instagram, Weidman can be seen limping around his house just five weeks after his injury. Chris Weidman wrote in the caption-
"I’m walking on my own! Big day baby!! Thanks for all the love and support. Inspired by you all! #recovery #walking #comeback #theallamerican #thankyouGOD"
In light of Weidman's road to recovery, let's take a look at five UFC fighters who miraculously recovered from potentially career-ending injuries to compete again.
#5 Jon Jones
Jon Jones suffered a bad injury during his first round TKO victory over Chael Sonnen in the main event at UFC 159. While Jones had mangled his big toe, the adrenaline kept him from taking note of it until Joe Rogan pointed it out in the post-fight interview.
It was later revealed that Jon Jones snapped his big toe while he was planting his foot, which raised serious concerns about his rising career. Jones, however, made a comeback five months later at UFC 165, where he defeated Alexander Gustafsson via unanimous decision.
#4 Dominick Cruz
Dominick Cruz has been plagued by multiple injuries that saw him sidelined for a major part of his career. However, Cruz's longest layoff came in the aftermath of his title loss to Cody Garbrandt at UFC 207. During the fight Cruz sustained extensive damage to his subcapularis and supraspinatus, sening him on a four-year hiatus.
Never one to back down, 'The Dominator' finally returned to the octagon in 2020, losing to Henry Cejudo at UFC 249. In his most recent appearance, Cruz picked up a split decision win over Casey Kenney on the preliminary card at UFC 259.
#3 Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar was one of the biggest names on the amateur wrestling circuit when he was picked up by the UFC. 'The Beast Incarnate' would go on to prove his worth by defeating Randy Couture for the UFC heavyweight championship in his fourth outing with the promotion.
However, Lesnar was diagnosed with a life-threatening condition ahead of his second title defense against Shane Carwin and had to pull out of the fight. The condition, called diverticulitis, inflames the walls of the large intestine and pouches form on the colon wall. Compunded with mononucleosis, Lesnar's situation demanded immediate surgery, which he underwent in North Dakota.
Brock Lesnar eventually defeated Shane Carwin on his return to the Octagon at UFC 116.
#2 Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira will go down in the history books for being on the receiving end of one of the worst MMA injuries of all time. During their rematch at UFC 140, Frank Mir snapped Nogueira's arm in two with a kimura submission.
'Minotauro' was winning the bout by way of his underrated striking game when he surprisingly decided to go for a submission finish. An unsuccessful guillotine attempt from Nogueira would pave the way for Mir to mount a furious comeback which eventually led to Big Nog's broken arm.
Although he required a surgery, Nogueira returned a year later at UFC 153 and picked up a second-round submission win over Dave Herman.
#1 Anderson Silva
Chris Weidman's broken shin at UFC 261 was ironic as it bore a striking resemblance to an injury suffered by Anderson Silva against none other than Weidman.
After capturing the UFC middleweight title, Chris Weidman faced Anderson Silva for his first title defense at UFC 168. The bout would tragically end at 1:16 in the second round as a checked leg kick sent 'The Spider' crashing to the canvas in agony. Having broken his leg, Silva underwent a cumbersome healing process and returned to the octagon after a two-year hiatus.
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