Everyone knows that MMA is one of the most dangerous sports out there and that fights can often end with an injury for one of the players. Regardless of how many health protocols get applied, the nature of fighting always puts at its center a risk of getting yourself hurt, and in a sport like MMA, where fighters are allowed to use both the arms and the legs, the chances of major injuries are only higher.
Aside from head injuries (the most dangerous ones), the other two regions of the body that often get hurt during MMA fights are the shoulders and the knees, which can get tangled up when the fighters get to the ground and try to get an advantage.
In this article, we’re going to talk about five of the most devastating knee injuries that have happened in the world of MMA and how the athletes managed to bounce back from them.
5 Devastating MMA Knee Injuries
Perhaps one of the most devastating knee injuries in the history of MMA is the one sustained by Dominick Cruz on his way to defending his UFC Bantamweight title when he tore his left ACL. The road to recovery was incredibly long as he needed two operations on that knee, and after returning, he immediately tore his right ACL, resulting in even more time away from fighting.
Perhaps the most popular and well-known MMA fighter of all time has faced his fair share of injuries. In 2013, during his second-round match-up against Max Holloway, he heard his knee pop, which resulted in a complete ACL tear that left him out of the ring for the next twelve months.
McGregor has claimed that he had an 80% tear of the ACL prior to his match against Chad Mendes in 2015; however, that hasn’t been confirmed.
In 2011, during a fight with Ovince St.Preux, Mousasi tore his ACL, which resulted in him being away from the sport for almost two years.
Unfortunately, even after his return to competition, he never managed to return to the same level and ended up reinjuring himself during that same year. Thankfully, since then, he has won multiple titles and improved his fighting record, showcasing that you can come back even after two ACL tears.
Rousey is perhaps the most well-known female fighter of all time, and she also had to suffer from an ACL injury. However, unlike most cases we’ve gone over so far, her injury was actually sustained before she started in the UFC.
She suffered a severe knee injury when she was only 16 years old, and it led to her needing reconstructive surgery – fortunately, this wasn’t a massive setback for Ronda as she claimed it taught her an important lesson about not feeling sorry for yourself and going for your goals regardless of what life throws your way.
Georges St-Pierre is considered by many to be the greatest fighter of all time. In his long career, he managed to tear his ACL twice – once in 2011 during a training session before a fight with Nick Diaz and the second time in 2014, which put his career on the line and led to him almost retiring. Fortunately, he was able to recover fully and returned to the UFC in 2017 to cement his list of incredible achievements in the sport of MMA.
How Do Athletes Recover from Knee Injuries?
Recovering from knee injuries, specifically from ACL tears, is a long and difficult process that requires time, patience, and hours with the physio. Typically, a full recovery can take from six months to a year, and it’s not always a smooth road for most people.
What exercises you do depends entirely on the nature of the injury and how bad it was however, in most cases, recovery requires working with light weights and many hours on the elliptical machine and the exercise bike in order to get some of the power in the muscles back.
After that initial period, athletes can start incorporating running on the treadmill and heavier weight, along with some light sport-specific sessions.
Hopefully, our article helped you learn more about the most devastating knee injuries that have happened in the world of MMA and how athletes managed to bounce back from them – as you can see, it wasn’t always easy.
We all are aware that, when you compete in MMA, injuries are a reality you have to get used to pretty quickly, as they happen quite often, especially in comparison to most other sports. With that said, the knees, shoulders, and head are often the most vulnerable areas that you need to pay special attention to and that you should know how to protect.