Conor McGregor’s leg might not have been 100 percent going into his trilogy bout with Dustin Poirier at UFC 264.
On Saturday, McGregor suffered an ugly injury—later diagnosed as a broken tibia—that ended the main event in the first round when a doctor determined that McGregor could no longer continue after his left leg buckled following an exchange of strikes. The former two-division champion underwent surgery on Sunday and it’s expected that he will be out of competition for the remainder of 2021.
McGregor took to Instagram on Thursday to provide an update on his condition and claimed that he actually entered the Poirier fight with stress fractures in his leg. He also claims that Dana White and the UFC were aware of this and that the fight almost didn’t happen.
“The leg is better than ever,” McGregor said. “I was injured going into the fight. People are asking me, ‘When was the leg broke? At what point did the leg break?’ Ask Dana White, ask the UFC, ask Dr. Davidson, the head doctor of the UFC. They knew, I had stress fractures in my leg going into that cage.
“There was debate about pulling the thing out because I was sparring without shin pads and I would kick the knee a few times. So I had multiple stress fractures in the shin bone above the ankle and then I have trouble with the ankle anyway throughout the years of f*cking fighting all the time. And I also was rapping me ankle every training session.”
It’s unclear at what exact point McGregor’s injury occurred during Saturday’s fight. At the evening’s post-fight press conference, Poirier wondered if it might have happened when he checked one of McGregor’s kicks, while Xtreme Couture coach Eric Nicksick mentioned on Twitter that it may have occurred when a McGregor front kick resulted in his ankle striking the point of Poirier’s elbow. The injury was most evident when McGregor took a fateful step back near the end of the round and his lower leg visibly contorted.
UAccording to McGregor, leg pain affected him so much in camp that he had to develop new strategies in training, some of which actually benefited him at
“I even done a lot of training sessions when the ankle was sore, I still wouldn’t stop training,” McGregor said. “I used to just train on me back and that’s how I developed those ground-and-pound shots from the back. That’s why Dustin backed away from me when he was on top of me and I was landing the upkicks and the elbows.
“It’s a horrible place to be in when you’re against someone like me. It takes so much effort to try and land shots from your top position and while you’re trying to do that and you’re losing your energy and you’re getting lumped at with downward elbows and vicious upkicks. It was a skill I developed because I had the damaged leg and I had to adjust me training.”
Though McGregor, who turned 33 on Wednesday, is expected to be out of action for a considerable length of time, he is already seeing a silver lining to his injury. Had it not happened, he believes he never would have addressed his ongoing leg issues.
“I needed to get treatment on my leg,” McGregor said. “I needed to get treatment on the ankle and I needed to get treatment on my shin bone and I would have never committed to going under the knife unless something like this has happened. So something like this has happened, I’m going in and getting exactly what I needed and what I needed was a titanium shin bone. So now I’ve got a titanium rod down the knee, from the knee to me ankle and the doctor said it’s unbreakable.”
“Then I’ll start playing with the balance, learning how to stand on it again,” McGregor continued. “Learning how to balance on the single leg again. Then I’ll build the strength. Then I’ve got an unbreakable titanium leg. I was talking to my physical therapist who was with Arnold Schwarzenegger and I was like, ‘I’m like Arnie in Terminator 2.’”
A few days removed from surgery, McGregor admitted that the process has been more taxing on him than he expected. While his initial reaction to the procedure was entirely positive, he’s since received a reality check as far as how difficult the journey to a comeback will be.
“I came out of the surgery and I was feeling very euphoric,” McGregor said. “The job was done, it was a great job that was done and I was like, ‘Yes, I’ve got this. This is gonna be easy. I can do this no problem.’ And then I hit a wall, I’m in a lot of pain, me mobility is gonna be like this for a while. It’s not gonna be a few days or even a few weeks, it’s gonna be a bit of time.
“I know there’s gonna be ups and downs on this journey that I’m gonna be on and I’m aware of them now and I’m just a bit more happy and bit more accepting of it. I’m motivated to keep going.”