Jared Cannonier's hopes for a middleweight title shot in 2020 are on hold.
The UFC contender suffered a torn left pectoral muscle earlier this month and had successful surgery to repair it on Tuesday, his manager, Lou DiBono of First Round Management, told ESPN.
Cannonier announced the injury last week on social media and said he would be out of action until the fall. On Tuesday, DiBono said he is hoping the fighter will return a "little bit sooner than that" and that Cannonier will be administered the best possible therapy.
"I think he'll bounce back relatively quickly," DiBono said.
Cannonier was slated to face former champion Robert Whittaker at UFC 248 on March 7 in Las Vegas, before Whittaker withdrew last month for undisclosed reasons. The UFC was working to get Darren Till in as a replacement to fight Cannonier, but Till, an England native, has been public about having visa issues.
Cannonier ended up tearing his left pec on Feb. 7 while he was waiting to see how the Till situation would play out, he wrote on Instagram. A win at UFC 248 could have very well earned Cannonier a title shot.
Cannonier (13-4) is one of the hottest fighters in the UFC's middleweight division. He has won three straight, all by TKO. The Arizona resident and MMA Lab product is coming off a second-round TKO win over Jack Hermansson at UFC Copenhagen in September.
The 35-year-old also is 3-0 since moving down to middleweight, after having previously fought in the UFC at heavyweight and light heavyweight. ESPN has Cannonier ranked No. 5 among MMA middleweights.
Cannonier could have been tabbed as a backup if anything happened to Romero, who has missed weight twice in his past three fights.