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Raphael Assuncao eyes December UFC return after undergoing fibula surgery

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Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

After winning his seventh fight in a row by outclassing Bryan Caraway at UFC Fight Night 54 back on Oct. 4, 2014 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada (highlights), Raphael Assuncao once again proved his worth as a top contender.

That said, the Brazilian bomber has been sidelined ever since with an unfortunate injury, hindering his ability to partake in his long-desired title fight. After undergoing successful fibula surgery a few weeks back (pic), Assuncao now eyes a return to action by year's end.

As he recently told Portal do Vale Tudo (via Bloody Elbow), worst-case scenario, he'll be back inside the Octagon in early 2016.

"It has been two weeks since I had surgery on my fibula. I'm recuperating really well, my body is reacting great. I was clinically healed, but the X-rays showed my bone was not 100 percent. It did not solidify, it could break again at any time if I didn't have the surgery. So we put this metal plate and some screws in there. They are high tech, so I will be fine. I'm very optimistic. I will sit out in September and maybe I can train again in October. I still have the stitches, but I will remove them next week. I want to fight in December, January, tops. I'm not one of those guys who gets unmotivated, fat, and doesn't eat well. On the contrary, I have been keeping an appropriate diet and once I'm cleared, I will start my camp. In one week I'll be back in shape."

Despite his inactivity, Raphael is still the No. 3-ranked bantamweight in the world.

If Assuncao can manage to make a successful comeback, his next fight after that could very well be a championship bout against division kingpin TJ Dillashaw.

A fighter the Brazilian has already beaten.