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Arnold Allen injury nixes offered UFC 286 co-main event fight that ‘everyone was expecting’

UFC Fight Night: Kattar v Allen Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Arnold Allen is on the cusp of his first career Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) title shot.

The British Featherweight contender is undefeated inside the Octagon and has emerged as a possible future champion after a strong 2022. Fresh on the heels of a win over Calvin Kattar in Oct. 2022, Arnold seemed poised for a possible title shot or interim crack at the very least in early 2023.

Yair Rodriguez and Josh Emmett are instead set to clash at UFC 284 next month (Feb. 11, 2023) for said interim crown while undisputed champion, Alexander Volkanovski, challenges Lightweight titleholder, Islam Makhachev. “Almighty” has now revealed that he was slated for a high-profile match up on the upcoming London, England return event, UFC 286 on March 18, 2023. While Allen didn’t specify, Logan Offord has reported that the offered spot was for a fight with former champion, Max Holloway.

“I was offered the co-main event but unfortunately I popped a rib out the other week and haven’t been in training for a few weeks,” Allen said on his YouTube channel (h/t MMA Fighting). “It’s pretty frustrating. It’s not cool.

“It was the fight everyone was expecting and the fight I wanted but I don’t even know the timeline [to fight again],” he added. “It will be a few weeks before I can start training again anyway. Too late to get into camp for that.”

Injuries have been a big part of the 28-year-old Allen’s journey thus far, fighting only once per year in every year of his eight-year UFC tenure with the exceptions of 2019 and 2022. Regardless of the missed opportunity, Allen likely will still need one more win before finally fighting for UFC gold.

“It is what it is,” Allen said. It has been the story of my life. “It has always sort of worked out for the best so we’re just going to keep that positive mindset, hopefully, get back in the gym as soon as I can.

“I’m confident it’s going to lead to bigger things,” he concluded. “It’s just not meant to be. That’s the way it is. That’s the way the cookie crumbles.”

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