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Pic: Leslie Smith ear recovery going 'pretty good' -- but 'days as an ear model are over'

Leslie Smith

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) bantamweight contender Leslie Smith may be the first mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter, at least under the ZUFFA banner, to lose a bout by way of exploding ear.

That's not an exaggeration, either, as you can see the gruesome video replay right here.

And while "The Peacemaker" has no problem trading her ear for a win -- and a sweet spot in the 135-pound title chase -- the cageside doctor wasn't going to have blood on his hands (literally) and ended her UFC 180 scrap against Jessica Eye last weekend in Mexico City.

For a close up pic of the injury click here.

Now a few days removed from her "Evil" loss, Smith (7-6-1) is coming to terms with the unfortunate stoppage, and told ESPN that she expects to be back inside the Octagon by early 2015, pending clearance from an ear specialist.

Her words:

"My ear is not feeling nearly as bad as you'd think it would be feeling. But I can say, my days as an ear model are over. I laid down in the back and watched the replay and then it was like, 'Oh okay, I understand why the fight had to be stopped.' Then the doctor came in and numbed it, so he could stitch it back together. He just used one long thread and he kept going and going and going, like he was sewing a blanket or something. I think it took at least an hour. They told me that night that I cannot fight for 50 days. I saw an ear specialist when I got back to the U.S., and he said the stitch job was really well done. I can say, I will be wearing headgear for the rest of my life. I had been draining my ear every month for a while, and I was getting three full syringes of fluid out every day. So I knew my ears could be a problem. There is a coolness factor to having a cauliflower ear. But at this point, my cauliflower ears are not screaming hot and sexy."

Read her full interview here.

Smith -- who beat the brakes off Jessamyn Duke last July -- is now parked at No. 13 in the official UFC rankings (see them here). The good news is, based on the depth of the division, she's likely to crack the top 10 with a big win her next time out.

Any potential opponents come to mind?

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