Coming off of the biggest victory of her career, it will be a while before we see UFC bantamweight Raquel Pennington return to the Octagon.
Pennington will be sidelined for the better part of 2017 following shoulder surgery.
After a rocky start to her UFC tenure, Pennington has reeled off four consecutive victories, most recently sending Miesha Tate into retirement at UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden in November of 2016.
All that success came at a cost, however, as Pennington recently told ESPN that she has been “feeling things” in her right shoulder for quite some time. She’s known for powerful punches, but by the end of her fight camp for Tate, Pennington said that she barely felt like throwing her right hand due to the issues with her shoulder.
She made it through the fight, winning a unanimous decision over her former The Ultimate Fighter team coach. Following the fight, Pennington joined Ronda Rousey‘s comeback camp to help the former champion with her sparring. It was after that camp with Rousey that she decided that she couldn’t put off dealing with her shoulder pain any longer.
Pennington opted for surgery, but it ended up being more extensive than expected, so she’ll be spending much of 2017 on the shelf, rehabbing.
“They thought it was a torn labrum, but when the doctor went inside it ended up being a torn bicep,” Pennington told ESPN. “They had to cut the bicep and anchor it to my bone. They also cleaned up my rotator cuff and labrum while they were in there.
“The recovery and everything is the same, with it being a torn bicep. It’s just going to take some time to heal. They’ve told me six to nine months. In six months, I should be back on the mats, full blown.”
Currently ranked No. 5 in the UFC women’s bantamweight division, it’s an unfortunate slowdown to Pennington’s momentum, as she was racing toward a title shot.