I'd bet on him returning. If/when he does I think he will get an immediate title fight if he wants one, which I think makes sense given the controversial nature of his last fight.
EFFECTIVE STRIKING does incude damage first and foremost. This DOES mean even cuts & bruises. Unified Rules-> http://herbdean.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/ABC_unified_rules_of_MMA_study_guide.pdf