Todd Duffee still fighting rare neurological disorder, hopes for fall return

The UFC heavyweight was diagnosed with Parsonage-Turner Syndrome, a nerve disorder that rendered him unable to open his hand. Duffee is still playing it safe and isn't quite sure when he'll return to the Octagon.

Todd Duffee (right), just 28, is still a promising UFC heavyweight despite his health setbacks.

Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

Todd Duffee is playing it safe four months after being diagnosed with Parsonage-Turner Syndrome, a rare neurological disorder.

The promising UFC heavyweight told UFC Tonight's Ariel Helwani that he's still being cautious, but he's targeting a return to the Octagon sometime in the fall.

"I am doing my own rehab, sadly," Duffee said. "So, there is no telling. I am trying to be smart. I have successfully grappled and sparred. I am nowhere near where I need to be. I will hopefully know more in two months. I things progress, I will ask for a fight with a four-month camp, looking at a September or October timeframe."

Parsonage-Turner causes pain, motor weakness and numbness, according to the National Center for Biotechnology. Duffee told FOX Sports in November that doctors don'€™t know how he got the affliction nor why, which is consistent with most cases of it -- when it comes, it's abrupt and without reason.

One morning, Duffee just woke up with pain and the inability to open his hand. It took him six weeks just to regain the ability to do the simplest things.

Duffee, a chiseled 6-foot-3, 225-pounder, was once one of the biggest heavyweight prospects in the world. At 28, he's still young enough to have a long career, but so little is known about Parsonage-Turner and if it could hamper him forever.

Not that it will make him give up.

"I know I have the skill set to be one of the best heavyweights in the world," Duffee said in the fall. "I've worked so hard for nine years and I'm just going to walk away from it because there's a small possibility I won't fight again? I don't think so."

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