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'It's called compartment syndrome' - Dustin Poirier explains why calf kicks hurt Conor McGregor so badly

Dustin Poirier (R) landed several calf kicks on Conor McGregor (L) during their UFC 257 rematch
Dustin Poirier (R) landed several calf kicks on Conor McGregor (L) during their UFC 257 rematch
TOP CONTRIBUTOR
Modified 05 Feb 2021
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Fresh off the most high-profile win of his career over Conor McGregor at UFC 257, Dustin Poirier is receiving immense praise for his strategy and the effective use of calf kicks that led to the knockout win. Poirier has garnered a lot of attention after pulling off the upset win, and the otherwise media-shy Louisiana native has made a lot of media appearances lately. During an episode of First We Feast, Dustin Poirier explained to the host Sean Evans the reasons behind the immense pain felt by Conor McGregor due to calf kicks.

"I've been on both sides of the calf kicks game and it's very painful because the swelling has nowhere to go. The way your calf is constructed, the swelling can't spread through the rest of your leg. It stays compartmentalized in the calf and it affects the nerves of your foot. It's called compartment syndrome. You can actually lose the use of your foot...it's painful man... It's bad stuff," Dustin Poirier told Sean Evans.

Conor McGregor absorbed numerous calf kicks to his right leg during the Dustin Poirier rematch and has received a potential six-month medical suspension due to the damage to his peroneal nerve. However, McGregor's head coach John Cavanagh believes that the Irishman will be back sooner than that for a potential trilogy fight with Dustin Poirier. In a recent post on Instagram, Conor McGregor admitted the mistake in his approach to the fight against Dustin Poirier and stance change.

Dustin Poirier has experienced similar pain in the past

Justin Gaethje landed several leg kicks on Dustin Poirier during their fight in 2018
Justin Gaethje landed several leg kicks on Dustin Poirier during their fight in 2018

Dustin Poirier's rematch with Conor McGregor was one of the less damaging fights of a career otherwise marked with gruelling back-and-forth wars. During an interview with Luke Thomas on his YouTube show Morning Combat, Poirier told Thomas that his fights against Justin Gaethje and Jim Miller put him through more physical pain than any other fight in his career. He elaborated by sharing his account of the hospital visit after Jim Miller fight. Both Gaethje and Miller landed numerous kicks to Dustin Poirier's leg in their respective battles against the Diamond.

"It's a toss-up between the Gaethje fight and the Jim Miller fight 'coz Jim Miller attacked my calf and I had to go to the hospital. My leg was swelling really bad. There was nowhere for the swelling to go. They wanted to cut my leg open to relieve the pressure that was really uncomfortable but Gaethje pain lasted the longest," Dustin Poirier told Luke Thomas

The calf kick is a technique primarily used in Muay Thai, an eastern martial art that emphasizes breaking the kinetic chain of an opponent's body to reduce the amount of force in his striking. It was relatively unknown in western martial arts until the 1990s and has become a popular weapon in MMA especially against fighters with a boxing heavy or wide karate stance.

Published 05 Feb 2021
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