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Conor McGregor has been medically suspended from fighting for six months following his defeat at the hands of Dustin Poirier at UFC 257.
The Irishman was knocked out in the second round as Poirier upset the odds to have his hand raised in Abu Dhabi.
But while the knockout itself was brutal, McGregor actually suffered a far worse injury on the night - one that will keep him out of action for the next six months at least.
The former dual-division has been medically suspended by the UFC champ after he was seen leaving the Etihad Arena on crutches following a number of devastating leg kicks from Poirier.
It's understood McGregor can have no physical contact for 30 days as a result of the knockout, and on top of that he can't compete for a minimum until he gets X-ray clearance for his leg injuries.
And if he fails that, he's looking at 180 days on the sideline.
On the night, Poirier relentlessly targeted his opponent's weight-baring front leg with calculated kicks.
And judging by the swelling, the tactic was executed with elite precision.
"I kick hard and Conor has a wide stance, so we thought it would be hard to check," former interim lightweight champ Poirier told Brett Okamoto after the fight.
"I started kicking through his check, because he wasn't checking correctly, it was still the muscle part of his calf, he wasn't turning his shin all the way outward, so it wasn't shin to shin."
"Even when he checked, he was getting the bad part of the kick.
"And I know from experience, I've been crippled with those kicks from Jim Miller, I've been hurt with those a few times, the swelling in your calf has nowhere to go, it's not like in your thigh where it can spread out, you get compartment syndrome and the swelling gets stuck in pockets, and it's so painful."
Despite being handed his first ever knockout loss in mixed martial arts, McGregor remained as humble in defeat as ever.
"That calf kick. I've never experienced that, and it's a good one," McGregor said after arriving at his post-fight press duties hobbling and with the aid of a crutch.
"My leg is completely dead. Even though I felt like I was checking them, they were just sinking into the muscle at the front of the leg and it was badly compromised.
"It's like an American football in my suit at the moment... The leg was compromised and I didn't adjust. And that's it. Fair play to Dustin and I'm very happy for him."
In the aftermath of the event, both McGregor and Poirier discussed the idea of running the fight back for a third time.
And with UFC 257 selling 1.6million Pay Per Views, it sets up arguably one of the greatest trilogy bouts the UFC is likely to see in a long time.
McGregor himself is definitely game having expressed his interest in fighting "three or four times in 2021", but this latest suspension news casts huge bout over a fast turnaround for that trilogy.
Featured Image Credit: UFC / MAINEVENT
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