Dustin Poirier secured a massive victory during the main event of UFC 257, knocking out Conor McGregor. While Poirier drew the most attention due to his second-round knockout punch, his kicks also played a significant role in the fight. McGregor revealed that his leg was "dead" after taking several kicks from Poirier.
"My leg is completely dead, and even though I felt like I was checking them [Poirier's leg kicks], it was just sinking into the muscle at the front of my leg," McGregor said after the matchup. "Dustin fought a hell of a fight. I thought I was better than him in the clinch, but too little, too late. My leg was compromised, and I didn't adjust and that's it. Fair play to Dustin."
"We'll do it again!"
All respect between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier after #UFC257.
You can see the damage those leg kicks did 😳 pic.twitter.com/6m9SJeCpkg— UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) January 24, 2021
Throughout the early portions of the fight, Poirier's strategy was on full display. He targeted McGregor's lead leg repeatedly with a series of kicks. The Irishman did not adjust to the kicks and lost his mobility during the second round. With his footwork compromised, McGregor could not avoid the flurry of punches that led to Poirier's KO victory.
The "dead" leg was also visible during a video that surfaced after the fight. McGregor met up with his opponent to shake his hand. He said that they would "do it again" before turning and walking away. He had a noticeable limp and had to avoid putting too much pressure on the leg.
Following the fight and McGregor's comments, physical rehab doctor and sports injury expert Brian Sutterer MD spoke out about the injury. Sutterer explained that the repeated kicks were targeting the fibular nerve that supplies muscle control to part of the lower leg. The nerve is close to the skin and is "more susceptible" to injury.
"This is where these UFC fighters are trying to strike, to have these effective calf kicks," Sutterer explained. "It's going to cause limited function of the muscles, because that nerve is going to be stunned. ... So you hit that nerve really close to the skin enough right here, and it's going to cause some of the nerves to shut off, it's going to cause some temporary damage to them, basically ending with this dead-feeling lower leg."