Five days after teasing a return to the Octagon on Jan. 14, Bethe Correia underwent an emergency eye surgery in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, that will keep her sidelined for the rest of the year.
Correia was booked to meet Irene Aldana at a UFC Fight Night card in St. Louis, Mo., but sustained a left eye injury and had to go under the knife. A couple of weeks after leaving the hospital, Correia spoke with MMA Fighting about the injury and her recovery.
“I can work out a bit, but the doctor said I can’t have any contact for two months,” Correia said. “You can’t train MMA with no contact, so I will only be able to return to training in January.”
This is not the first time Correia has had eye surgery.
In Oct. 2014, two months after finishing Shayna Baszler at UFC 177, “Pitbull” had to take care of an injury to her right eye and was forced to turn down an early 2015 bout with then-UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, when offered to replace Cat Zingano at UFC 182.
The first eye surgery kept Correia away from training for six months, but this time it’s a simpler issue.
“It might be related to training,” said the Brazilian, admitting that she dropped the ball on the situation. “The doctor told me I have to visit the ophthalmologist from time to time to check my eyes. If I had gone after my fight with Holly (Holm), he would have probably fixed it right away with no need of surgery, but fighters are so focused in training that they don’t pay attention to their health.”
Correia lost to Holm by third-round knockout in Singapore back in June, dropping to 1-3-1 in her last five UFC appearances. Pitbull had just returned to Brazil, back from a few weeks of training in Texas and Thailand, when she had to undergo surgery.
“I had a fight booked with Irene and was super excited because I have a lot of fans in Mexico,” Correia said. “I spent some time training in Texas, and there was a lot of Mexicans there so I think it was going to be nice, but we’ll see what happens next. I’ll come back to training in January and hopefully fight in March.”
“I didn’t want people to see the same old Bethe, with the same attacks, fighting the same way, so I went to Thailand to train,” she continued. “I was involved in important fights and everyone wanted to fight me, so people will be impressed next time I fight. I will use everything I’m going through as a motivation in my next fight.”
Correia is still interested in a fight with Aldana, who lost back-to-back decisions to Leslie Smith and Katlyn Chookagian in the UFC after racking up a 4-1 record under the Invicta FC banner.
“It would be cool to fight Irene because Mexicans love me, and they will love me even more after this fight,” Correia said. “Mexicans are warriors, so this fight would be a war, but I’m open to fighting anyone in the UFC. They know how to promote fights and put on the best match-ups.”