Conor McGregor’s leg may not have been 100% in his trilogy fight with Dustin Poirier at UFC 264.
On Saturday, McGregor suffered a nasty injury – later diagnosed as a tibial fracture – which ended the main event of round one when a doctor determined McGregor could no longer continue after his left leg became deformed following an exchange of strikes. The former two-division champion underwent surgery on Sunday and is expected to be out of competition for the remainder of 2021.
McGregor took to Instagram on Thursday to take stock of his condition and claimed he did indeed enter Poirier’s fight with stress fractures in his leg. He also claims that Dana White and the UFC were aware of this and the fight hardly took place.
“The leg is better than ever,” McGregor said. “I was injured before the fight. People ask me, “When did the leg break?” When did the leg break? Ask Dana White, ask UFC, ask UFC chief medical officer Dr. Davidson. They knew I had stress fractures in my leg when I entered that cage.
“There was a debate about taking the thing off because I was training without shin guards and would be kicking the knee several times. So I had several stress fractures in the shin above my ankle and then still had issues with my ankle from years of fucking fighting all the time. And I also hit my ankle every workout.
It’s unclear exactly when McGregor’s injury occurred in Saturday’s fight. At the evening’s post-fight press conference, Poirier wondered if this could have happened when he checked out one of McGregor’s kicks, while Xtreme Couture’s coach Eric Nicksick mentioned on Twitter that this may have happened when a forward kick from McGregor caused his ankle to hit the tip of Poirier’s elbow. The injury was more evident when McGregor took a fateful step back towards the end of the lap and his leg visibly deformed.
According to McGregor, the leg pain affected him so much at camp that he had to develop new training strategies, some of which actually benefited him from
“I even did a lot of workouts when my ankle was sore, I still just kept training,” McGregor said. “I used to just train on the back and that’s how I developed those shots on the ground and in pounds from the back. That’s why Dustin pulled away from me when he was on top of me and I was getting the kicks and elbows.
“It’s a horrible place to be when you’re up against someone like me. It takes so much effort trying to land punches from your highest position and while trying to do so you lose your energy and end up with down elbows and vicious kicks. It’s a skill that I developed because I had a damaged leg and had to adjust my training.
Although McGregor, who turned 33 on Wednesday, is expected to be out of action for a considerable period, he already sees a silver lining in his injury. If that hadn’t happened, he thinks he would never have fixed his current leg issues.
“I needed treatment for my leg,” McGregor said. “I had to get my ankle treated and I had to get my shin treated and I would never commit to going under the knife unless something like that happened.” So something like that happened, I go in and get exactly what I needed and what I needed was a titanium shin. So now I have a titanium rod along the knee from knee to ankle and the doctor said it’s unbreakable.
“Then I’ll start playing with the scale, learning to hold onto it again,” McGregor continued. “Learn to regain balance on one leg. Then I will build the strength. Then I have an unbreakable titanium leg. I was talking to my physiotherapist who was with Arnold Schwarzenegger and I was like, “I’m like Arnie in Terminator 2.’”
Within days of surgery, McGregor admitted that the process had been more taxing on him than he expected. Although his initial reaction to the proceedings was entirely positive, he has since received a reality check as to the difficulty of the return journey.
“I came out of the surgery and felt very euphoric,” McGregor said. “The job was done, it was a great job that was done and I was like, ‘Yeah, I have that. It will be easy. I can do it without problem. And then I hit a wall, I’m in a lot of pain, my mobility is going to be like that for a while. It’s not going to be a few days or even a few weeks, it’s going to be a little while.
“I know there will be ups and downs in this journey I’m going to be on and I’m aware of that now and I’m just a little happier and accepting it a little more. I am motivated to continue.