Conor McGregor might have been injured heading into his trilogy against Dustin Poirier at UFC 264, but that’s no excuse for losing the fight.
That’s according to former UFC light heavyweight title challenger Anthony Smith who, like many fighters in the MMA sphere, claims pre-fight injuries are the norm in combat sports and that every fighter enters the cage compromised.
“Everyone who loses has an excuse. It’s new for Conor to be like that,” Smith said on SiriusXM’s Fight Nation (h/t MMA Fighting). “I’m not the excuses guy but in my circle, all my friends know what’s going on. They know pre and they know post. Like, ‘I know you’re never gonna say this but what was going on here? I know you’ll never say this publicly because you don’t make excuses.’ And I’ll absolutely tell my friends what’s going on. (They) knew that my hand was broken going into the Glover (Teixeira) fight and I never said anything about it because it’s not an excuse! Glover probably had a broken hand. We all are injured.
“Going into the Jimmy Crute fight - I can talk about it because I won - my leg was f—ked. Totally f—ked. I couldn’t kick almost the entire training camp. I had this huge, huge hematoma and I’m lucky the commission didn’t catch it because I don’t know if they would have even let me fight. The point of that is we’re all banged up going in. The sport is very hard and you put your body - the fight’s the easiest part. Making it through a training camp as uninjured as possible is the tough part.”
️"His excuses are very invalid to me." -- Anthony Smith (@lionheartasmith) explains to @RJcliffordMMA why the notion of Conor McGregor's leg being injured prefight against Dustin Poirier isn't a legitimate reason for McGregor's loss #UFC264— MMA on SiriusXM (@MMAonSiriusXM) July 20, 2021
McGregor suffered a devastating leg break during a stand-up exchange in the first round but Smith maintains that ‘The Notorious’ was likely no less ‘banged up’ than Poirier was heading into the fight.
“I would say Conor wasn’t any more hurt than Dustin was going into that fight,” Smith said. “That’s not me saying Conor wasn’t banged up or his legs weren’t bothering him or his shin wasn’t cracked up or whatever, but he wasn’t any more injured that Dustin Poirier was. That’s my perspective at it from an athlete.
“It’s easy for a fan or someone who has never done it to say, ‘Oh, he was hurt.’ We’re all hurt. Every single one of us, every single time we fight. There’s not one person that can ever say they go in 100 percent healthy. So his excuses are very invalid to me. To the general public, it makes sense that they people would buy into that excuse but Conor knows that all of us don’t buy it because we’re all hurt too. That’s how I look at it, but he’s not lobbying to us. It’s to the general public, the buyers, the PPV buyers. Those are the people he needs to convince but he knows he’s never gonna convince us.”
McGregor revealed that he had ‘stress fractures’ in his leg prior to the fight and, while some doctors dispute those claims, UFC president Dana White confirmed the Irishman has ‘chronic arthritis’ in his ankles but opted not to tape them despite receiving clearance from the Nevada Athletic Commission.
McGregor is 1-2 against Poirier, and 1-3 in his last four fights. The former two-division champion is currently #9 in the UFC lightweight rankings.