One of the UFC’s top contenders at 170lbs, Jon Fitch is set for a lengthy layoff after discovering a problem with his shoulder.

The injury is believed to have been sustained during his fight with BJ Penn in February which ended in a majority draw, and also kept him out of an immediate rematch.

It’s now been confirmed that he’ll have to undergo surgery to repair the damage, and that will mean it’ll be a further six months before he’ll be back in action.

Initially Fitch had his fingers crossed for better news, noting yesterday on Twitter that, “This is the longest I’ve ever gone without training. Hope the doc has good news today.”

Unfortunately that wasn’t the case, and he later admitted it was, “Not the news I was looking for.”

“I’m going to have to get the labrum worked on, and I also have a tear of one of the rotator cuff muscles that’s going to need to be repaired, too,” Fitch later revealed to

Before the injury Fitch had been within touching distance to earning another title shot recently following a six-fight unbeaten run. Now he’ll have to watch from the sidelines for now and hope that he doesn’t slip to far down the top contenders list.

“There’s a lot of options. I hope it works out favorably for me. But I can’t ask the world to stop turning just because I have an injury.”

thought admitting that his current situation is “depressing” he’s trying to remain optimistic and says he hopes to fight Penn for a second time when he returns, as was originally planned.