Prochazka eyeing summer return, says shoulder healing well

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Jiri Prochazka could be back in the Octagon sooner than expected.

The former UFC light heavyweight champion, who relinquished the title in November after suffering a severe shoulder injury, said Monday he's aiming to return in July or August.

"Everything is going in a great way," Prochazka said on "The MMA Hour." "Next week, I am going to Las Vegas to continue in rehabilitation and all these processes to (recover as fast) as possible. I don't want to be so fast for the shoulder, but it's getting much better than everybody expects."

Initially, it appeared the Czech fighter would be out for most, if not all, of 2023. UFC president Dana White said in December that Prochazka's injury was the worst shoulder ailment he'd ever seen among UFC fighters.

Prochazka was scheduled to defend his belt in a rematch with Glover Teixeira on Dec. 10, but he withdrew after getting hurt. Following a few twists and turns, Jamahal Hill captured the vacant 205-pound championship with a unanimous decision rout of Teixeira at UFC 283 this past weekend.

Prochazka said he wants to ensure his body is working at "200%" before committing to a fight. He wasn't sure whether he'd be the first person to challenge Hill.

"I don't know if he wants to wait for me until this summer," Prochazka said. "If he wants (to wait), it will be the best (scenario for me) because I'm sharpening my weapons for him. If he wants to fight in some near future, it doesn't matter for me.

"Like I said, I want to see the light heavyweight division moving because there (are) good guys (in the division)."

Prochazka eyeing summer return, says shoulder healing well
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