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Amir Albazi gives update on UFC return, willing to face Tatsuro Taira

UFC flyweight contender Amir Albazi has been frustrated sitting on the sidelines but is nearing his return.

Albazi (17-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) hasn’t competed since edging out Kai Kara-France in his first UFC main event last June. The win positioned him into title contention, but the 30-year-old has been forced to take a step back after two surgeries.

Albazi withdrew from his UFC Fight Night 237 main event vs. Brandon Moreno in February due to a neck injury, which required surgery. He is gearing for a comeback this fall.

“I’ll be ready to go in September, so that’s the plan,” Albazi told MMA Junkie Radio. “I’m almost fully healed. I would say I’m 85 percent, 90 percent back to fighting. So, I can’t wait. It’s been a tough journey so far. I had two surgeries back to back. I’m just excited, motivated, and ready to come back in the cage and do what I do best.”

With rising contenders such as Muhammad Mokaev, Manel Kape and Tatsuro Taira emerging, Albazi feels like the forgotten contender.

“It’s been so, so hard to deal with this,” Albazi said. “I had a heart surgery back in November actually, so imagine coming out of a heart surgery, start training, getting into a camp, fighting Moreno for the next title contender, and then I get this, and I have to do another surgery for my neck.

“So, I was feeling like it was hitting me everywhere where I see guys just fighting and fighting and fighting. But this just motivates me to get back in and actually be more active than ever.”

With Mokaev facing Kape at UFC 304 and Kara-France taking on Steve Erceg at UFC 305, Albazi is open to undefeated Taira (16-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) next.

“I haven’t been in the cage for a long time, so of course people are not going to think about me just yet until I fight again,” Albazi said. “But I think he (Taira) needs one more fight with someone in the top five, top six.

Maybe the winner of Mokaev and Manel Kape, or if they give him Moreno, Royval, anyone that’s kind of battle tested. So then after that fight, yeah sure, why not? The guy keeps winning, the guy is good so – or put him against me. I’m ready for that challenge, too.”

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