If we’re to take Conor McGregor’s word, you have to applaud his efforts to ensure UFC 189 went down the way it did.
His original opponent, UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo, pulled out of the bout two weeks prior to the event, citing a fractured rib that would prevent him from competing, let alone properly prepare for the highly anticipated bout. Obviously upset at losing out on the chance to obtain UFC gold, McGregor revealed he’d dealt with adversity of his own leading up to UFC 189 — claiming it was far worse than, what the Irishman called, a “bruised rib.”
“Fourteen weeks before the fight I tore 80 percent of my ACL,” McGregor said at a fan Q&A before the UFC’s fight night in Dublin (h/t MMAFighting). “I could barely walk, I could barely kick. I had a lot of experience with coming back from that injury. I was aware of my body, I was aware of my balance. I had a good team around me. I trusted everyone that was there. That’s how I perform.
“So, once again, I had a lot of adversity to overcome. But honestly, I went into that fight and I beat Chad on one leg. After going through that adversity I feel like I have gained three new legs.”
The “Notorious” one had previously torn his ACL during competition when fighting Max Holloway at UFC Fight Night 26 in April 2013. Typical of most ACL injuries, McGregor was sidelined for about a year before returning to face Diego Brandao in his hometown, making his alleged 14-week recovery relatively impressive.
McGregor went on to face two-time title contender Chad Mendes at UFC 189, stopping the Team Alpha Male featherweight in the second round to become the promotion’s interim titleholder at 145 pounds. He faces Aldo at UFC 194 on Dec. 12 to unify the titles, in what is quickly becoming one of the most anticipated bouts in MMA history.