Conor McGregor’s comeback from the devastating ankle injury he picked up at UFC 264 last weekend is expected to take well over a year, per UFC president Dana White.
McGregor faced long-time rival Dustin Poirier in the main-event bout at UFC 264.
After a heated build-up to the trilogy contest, many fans were expecting the clash to be a potential fight of the year contender.
Instead, Poirier dominated the opening round, landing the heavier shots on the feet as well as some brutal ground-and-pound after McGregor attempted an ill-fated guillotine choke. Two of the bouts’ judges scored the round a 10-8 for the Diamond.
The contest would then go from bad to worse for the Irishman. In the final moments of the first round, McGregor fired a one-two combination. After missing with his left hand, he fell backwards, and his ankle appeared to snap.
The former UFC two-weight world champion collapsed on the canvas and Poirier jumped on top to land even more ground-and-pound.
The round ended just seconds after the injury and the UFC’s doctor told referee Herb Dean that McGregor was not fit to continue fighting, meaning Poirier was victorious via doctor’s stoppage.
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Since the bout, McGregor has already undergone a successful 3-hour surgery on his ankle and was discharged from the Cedars-Sinai hospital on the morning of his 33rd birthday. He is expected to spend some time in Los Angeles and begin his recovery there, but will likely return to Ireland to reunite with his family in the near future.
The Notorious shared a series of photos of his recovery plan with his 8.8m Twitter followers. These showed the UFC superstar undergoing a series of X-rays, placing his left leg in a freezing bucket of ice while sat in a Rolls Royce and wrapping his lower left leg in a leg brace.
On his return to UFC action, which, according to UFC president Dana White, could not be for over a year, McGregor may elect to take a step down in competition.
He could instead face long-time rival Nate Diaz, former UFC interim champion Tony Ferguson or even YouTuber-turned-boxer Jake Paul, if he wishes to call time on his MMA career.
However, in the post-event press conference, Dana White indicated that the UFC would look to book yet another clash between McGregor and Poirier, claiming that “you can’t have a fight finish that way.”
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"It sucks, it's brutal and it's not the way you want to see fights end," White said. "Dustin Poirier will fight for the title and when Conor is healed and ready to go, we'll do the rematch."
"Listen, the fight didn't get finished," White said. "You can't have a fight finish that way. We'll see how this whole thing plays out. Who knows how long Conor is out. Poirier will do his thing until Conor is ready."
"Listen, the rematch is there. You've got the rematch with him and the rematch with Diaz. To say, definitively? I can't say that right here and now. But you always have that rematch."
While another contest with McGregor would be lucrative for Poirier, it seems the Diamond is more interested in challenging for the UFC’s lightweight title currently held by Charles Oliveira.
If Poirier wins that contest, we could perhaps see McGregor fight one last time for a UFC belt.
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