In 2013, I was at the top of my game, having won the UFC Middleweight Title and my first seven fights. During my title fight that December, my knees started bothering me--which was something I had dealt with since high school. My lateral meniscus would click into my joint and lock my knee. I had learned how to deal with and avoid this problem in the past, but I realized I didn’t want to risk it happening again during a fight. I decided to meet with Dr. Answorth Allen, orthopedic surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery.
I knew Dr. Allen because he repaired my labrum in 2012. His demeanor and personality are really what sold me the first time around, and the success of the surgery ensured I’d see him for any future injuries. In March 2014, Dr. Allen recommended double meniscus surgery as the best option to fix my nagging knee issues.
There’s nothing like undergoing surgery. You have to put your complete trust into the hands of the doctors and nurses. It made a world of difference knowing that I was surrounded by people who helped me feel confident in my decision to move forward with surgery. Prior to my procedure, Dr. Allen worked with me to put together a rehab plan that would get me back into the octagon as soon as possible to defend my Middleweight Title.
Weeks after surgery, I felt an improvement in my knees. From surgery to rehab and follow-up appointments, Dr. Allen and the HSS staff made me feel like I was a priority. HSS prepared me physically and mentally because I knew I was working with the best doctors, which allowed me to stay positive and motivated to get to my next fight.
Thanks to Dr. Allen I stepped back into the octagon for the first time after surgery on July 5th, 2014, feeling sharper than I had in years.. I’ve been to a lot of hospitals in my lifetime and Hospital for Special Surgery is the best. I am forever grateful to Dr. Allen for repairing both of my knees and helping me get back to my best. One of the greatest moments of my career was that July night at the end of the fight when my hand was raised and I was once again announced as the UFC Middleweight Champion!