5 of the worst injuries in UFC history

UFC 264: Poirier v McGregor 3
Conor McGregor being stretchered out of the arena at UFC 264

The UFC represents all aspects of MMA. The promotion showcases a lifetime's worth of skills between two fighters primed and trained to be the greatest unarmed combatants in the world. However, mixed martial arts includes more than just the technical brilliance and athletic grit involved in fighting.

It also features showmanship, weight cuts, and regrettably—injuries. Whether they happen inside the octagon during a fight or take place prior to bouts during sparring sessions, injuries are part of every MMA fighter's life. It's common for those in the UFC to exclaim that no fighter steps inside the octagon uninjured.

Whether it's a minor knock or something more grevious, there's always something there. Some injuries, however, are truly brutal to behold. Even worse, some of them occur inside the octagon. This list takes a look at five such horrendous injuries that happened during bouts in the cage.


#5. Ronaldo Souza vs. André Muniz, UFC 262

Years ago, Ronaldo Souza was among the MMA world's top middleweights and even managed to capture the Strikeforce crown at 185 lbs. Unfortunately, he never quite matched that level of success in the UFC. When 2021 came around, 'Jacare' was in the twilight years of his career.

Despite being on a losing streak, he had never suffered defeat via submission. All of that changed at UFC 262 when he faced André Muniz, a third-degree Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. Despite Muniz's credentials, Souza is a far more highly regarded grappler with numerous world titles in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

That, however, meant nothing to his opponent. Within the first round of their bout, 'Sergipano' trapped his countryman in an armbar that snapped his foe's arm. The injury was so brutal it required significant surgical repair and signaled the end of Souza's MMA career.

After his first-ever submission loss, 'Jacare' left the world of mixed martial arts on a four-fight losing streak.


#4. Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen, UFC 159

The only time that Jon Jones has tasted defeat in the UFC was against Matt Hamill back in 2009. After landing an illegal 12-6 elbow that rendered 'The Hammer' unable to continue fighting, 'Bones' was declared the loser of the bout via disqualification. Thus, his only loss came under bizarre circumstances.

Another bizarre occurrence could have led to a second loss for Jones in yet another fight he was thoroughly dominating. At UFC 159, 'Bones' faced Chael Sonnen in the third defense of his light heavyweight title. As he fought for a takedown, Sonnen blocked his efforts as best as he could.

Unfortunately, as Jones pivoted his foot at an angle, his big toe snapped in half in a brutal open fracture that began leaking blood. Had Jones failed to TKO Sonnen before the first round ended, he would've been declared unfit to continue fighting and Sonnen would have been crowned champion via TKO due to injury.

Since then, Jones has taken to the practice of taping his big toe due to the excruciating amount of pain that he suffers if he pivots too hard with his foot.


#3. Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier 3, UFC 264

Conor McGregor hasn't set foot inside the octagon since 2021. There's a good reason for his long absence. The Irishman has spent his time recovering from a grueling injury he suffered against Dustin Poirier in their trilogy bout at UFC 264. The exact cause of the injury, however, is still up in the air.

In the first round of their fight, the cage-side doctor called for an end to the proceedings after 'The Notorious' snapped his shin in half. His opponent, 'The Diamond', claimed the injury was due to a checked kick. Replays of the fight show no such check causing the reported injury.

Instead, some have pointed out that it could be due to one of McGregor's front kicks causing his shin to clash with Poirier's elbow. McGregor himself claims that the injury stemmed from stress factures he suffered during his training camp. Regardless of the true cause, it was a graphic injury to witness.

After failing to land a straight left, the Irishman stepped back. But the weight he placed on his rear foot caused his lower shin to simply snap and he fell back in anguish. While he has since recovered from the injury and is scheduled to face Michael Chandler at some point this year, it sidelined him for roughly two years.


#2. Anderson Silva vs. Chris Weidman 2, UFC 168

The first matchup between Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman shocked the world. The legendary Brazilian lost the bout due to a shocking second-round knockout that not only dethroned him as the promotion's middleweight king, but also brought an end to his 16-fight win streak.

In an even more maddening occurrence, 'The Spider's' immediate rematch with his All-American rival ended in an even more shocking manner. One of Silva's greatest weapons in the pair's first fights was his low kicks. So for their rematch, Weidman came well prepared to deal with them.

The end, like in their first fight, came in the second round. Silva threw a hard low kick but Weidman lifted his leg to check it with the upper, thicker part of his shin. Silva's leg snapped in half, wrapping around Weidman's shin like rubber before the Brazilian stepped back and collapsed on the canvas.

It was a horrifying sight that immediately ended the bout and led to Silva returning over a year later to embark on the worst streak of his career with five losses, one win and one no-contest in his last seven fights with the UFC.


#1. Chris Weidman vs. Uriah Hall 2, UFC 261

In a cruel karmic twist, Chris Weidman was later dealt the same fate that he handed Anderson Silva. To make matters even more poetic, it also took place in a rematch against an opponent he once faced. Worse still, his opponent is a fighter who once drew countless comparisons to Anderson Silva himself.

UFC 261 is one of the few events where every fight on the main card ended due to either a KO or TKO. In the second bout of the main card, Chris Weidman faced Uriah Hall in a rematch that was 11 years in the making since the two last clashed at Ring of Combat 31 in 2010.

Unfortunately, their second fight lasted no longer than 17 seconds. Weidman threw a kick and Hall was quick to check it, causing the former champion's shin to snap on contact. As he stepped back, his shin collapsed under his weight, looking almost boneless as it bent the wrong way.

It's been two years since the bout and Weidman is yet to return to the octagon. His injury didn't heal properly after his initial surgery, forcing him to undergo a second surgery. Fortunately, he did manage to take part in a grappling match at Polaris 23 on March 11, losing a unanimous decision to renowned grappler Owen Livesey.

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Edited by Taimoor Malik
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