With knee surgery behind him, now Conor McGregor can start the long road back to a career that was just starting to skyrocket.
McGregor (14-2 MMA, 2-0 UFC) suffered a tear to his anterior cruciate ligament, a strain to his medial collateral ligament and a meniscal tear of his posterior horn in his win over Max Holloway in August at UFC Fight Night 26 in Boston. The initial prognosis was that he would be out in the range of 10 months on the high end.
But over the weekend, the Irish fighter tweeted that his surgery was successful and that his rehabilitation would be getting underway in Orange County, Calif.
McGregor took the UFC by storm in April when he debuted with a 67-second TKO of Marcus Brimage in Sweden that earned him “Knockout of the Night.” He campaigned for a spot on the Boston card so he could fight in a city heavy on Irish in its population. And while he didn’t get a stoppage win, he was utterly dominant against Holloway – and said after the fight that the injury to his knee in the bout caused him to adjust his game plan.
Several days after the fight, McGregor told MMAjunkie.com Radio he figured he’d only need three or four weeks to heal and that he hoped he’d be ready to go by Oct. 26 for the UFC’s show in Manchester, England.
“If I can’t do something with my knee, I’ll find something else to do,” he said. “I will adapt to it; I will still work. If (I was out) about three or four weeks out, that would be five or six weeks, which is plenty of time. So I’m holding out hope that I’ll be on that Manchester card.”
But later that day, he got the news on just how bad his knee was, and that Manchester goal was put on hold.
Before the initial prognosis came in, McGregor was talking plenty about the other featherweights in the UFC and where he stood compared to them. In a video shoot with FOX Sports, he was asked to play word association with some of those fighters. He called former lightweight champ Frankie Edgar and former title challenger Chad Mendes “bantamweights,” said current champ Jose Aldo just “plays it safe,” said Dustin Poirier is a “peahead” and said he didn’t know who Erik Koch was. Then he took to Twitter to insult former lightweight challenger Diego Sanchez.
But now if he plans to back any of that up, it will have to wait until he’s healed and can get back to action, likely next summer at the earliest.
Prior to signing with the UFC, McGregor had an eight-fight winning streak that included winning Cage Warriors’ featherweight title in June 2012, then its lightweight title six months later – both in his native Dublin. He never defended either belt and instead got the call from the UFC.
His win over Holloway on Saturday was the first time he had been to the third round in his career. Prior to that, all 13 of his wins had come by stoppage with 12 knockouts or TKOs and one submission.
For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 26, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.