It appears Tatiana Suarez will have to wait a little while longer before returning to the Octagon.
The UFC strawweight contender continues to deal with a neck injury she sustained in training weeks before her June win over Nina Ansaroff and aggravated in the early moments of the bout when attempting to secure a takedown.
Suarez revealed she received cortisone and stem cell injections after the fight, but her recovery has taken longer than expected.
"For a while, (my neck) felt worse after the injection, and it's probably because they put a needle inside my spine," Suarez told theScore on Monday. "It felt horrible for a while, but it's getting better."
Suarez said she'll likely receive a second MRI in December so doctors can determine if they should go ahead with a second cortisone shot. The 28-year-old believes she needs one.
"Say I'm hitting mitts, and I do just one-arm stuff - say I throw a combination and it's all left-arm stuff. It starts dropping, and it becomes really, really fatigued way easier than my other hand," Suarez said. "That's kind of an indication that it's not firing like it's supposed to. And when I do my strength and conditioning, I notice a difference on the left side with my arms."
Doctors told Suarez that the injury sometimes requires more than one treatment. She could eventually face surgery if a second - or third - cortisone injection doesn't work.
Suarez's bout with Ansaroff was widely regarded as an unofficial title eliminator but any chance of a shot at then-champion Jessica Andrade was halted due to the injury. Andrade ultimately dropped the title to Weili Zhang, who will likely face ex-champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk next.
Suarez isn't in a rush to get back into the cage, as she wants to make sure she's 100 percent healthy first.
"Of course, I want to get in there and fight, but I just think it's not very wise to jump in because with this type of injury, if I hurt it again - when nerves get agitated, it's just horrible," Suarez said. "I just don't want to re-aggravate it and start the healing process all over again."