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Conor McGregor considered pulling out of UFC 178 because of torn thumb ligaments

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

LAS VEGAS -- Conor McGregor cemented himself as more than just hype on Saturday, knocking out rival Dustin Poirier in less than two minutes to propel himself into legitimate title contention at UFC 178.

Afterward, the Irish featherweight revealed that he tore the ligaments in his thumb four weeks out from the event. The injury proved severe enough that McGregor briefly contemplated withdrawing from the fight, before ultimately electing to compete anyway.

"I was wrestling, and a guy shot in. I went to sprawl and his whole body came down on the thumb and literally just crushed it. I just heard a couple of pops," McGregor explained. "Of course it was [severely swollen]. So of course I'm looking at my broken thumb like that, four weeks out from the biggest fight of my life, and thinking, maybe I will pull out. But I just said, I'll do what I can and I'll play it by ear."

McGregor said he received a cast on the thumb from a doctor in his native Ireland, but otherwise refused to address the injury further.

"I don't give a f--k about no MRI," McGregor insisted. "No matter what they tell me in the MRI, it's not going to make a difference in what way I choose to go about this. And once I had the little cast to protect it from taking knocks when I'm not doing anything, I'm going to fight. And that's what happened."

The gamble ultimately paid off for McGregor, a rising star in the featherweight division whose presence on the card was accompanied by a flood of his Irish countrymen into Las Vegas, NV.

And ever the showman, McGregor couldn't help but compare his situation to that of his former rival Cole Miller, who withdrew from a UFC Dublin grudge match against McGregor this past summer under similar circumstances.

"We can talk about Cole Miller, my previous opponent," McGregor said. "Seven weeks. Seven weeks before a UFC main event, a big event. He pulled out with seven weeks (to go) because of torn ligaments in his thumb, and I couldn't understand that. So it happened to me four weeks out. I knew I was going to overcome it, and that is what I've done. I have a bulletproof mind, there's not a lot that can break me. It's just a thumb."

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