At an event at Sydney’s Star Casino, Coach Kavanagh says that, despite hopes that McGregor would one day fight in front of home fans at Croke Park in Dublin, it most likely won’t happen.
I have to be honest, I don’t ever see him fighting in Ireland again. Just the time difference [between Ireland and peak American viewing time]. He’d be doing a 4am walk the way Alex Gustafsson had to do. Imagine Irish people from 8pm to 4am drinking and then Conor walking out … there’d be 80,000 people asleep on chairs. I don’t think that’s going to happen.
At an event at the Star Casino in Sydney, Australia, Kavanagh says that while he respects Mayweather as a fighter, he has none for him as a person.
I do think Floyd Mayweather is pretty much a dirtbag. He’s beat up his girlfriends…He just strikes me as a real bullying type character. He makes these guys fight endless rounds (in his gym) until one is badly hurt…just not a good individual. In saying that, that’s his personality. Technically he’s obviously a very, very sound boxer. I’m a fan of his skills but as a human being, the way he runs his gym and the way he carries himself…
At an event at Sydney’s Star Casino, Coach Kavanagh says McGregor will return to MMA if the Mayweather fight doesn’t happen.
What I see happening this year is the Mayweather fight, maybe the end of the summer or something like that. [But] let’s say Mayweather doesn’t want to do it, for whatever reason. Then I could see us fighting in MMA by the end of the summer, [for] the lightweight belt. One thing you’ve got to understand about Conor — and this might rattle your bones — is his motivation is not money when it comes to fighting. Right now, even with his ridiculous spending habits, he wouldn’t be able to spend his money by the time he retired. It’s not money that’s getting him up in the morning. It’s the competition. It’s facing someone he genuinely feels is a threat.
At an event at the Star Casino in Sydney, Kavanagh explains how McGregor can beat Woodley.
I’d fancy [Conor] in there with Woodley. He’s just another wrestler with an overhand right, and that’s the type Conor grew up knocking out. So I wouldn’t see a massive challenge in that. I would like to see Gunni get that belt. Gunnar Nelson will be the next SBG world champion.
At an event in Sydney’s Star Casino, Coach Kavanagh says that preparations for a McGregor-Mayweather fight have been underway for some time. He also says the fight will happen in September, and if not, certainly by the end of the year.
It’s happening, 100 per cent. Before I came out here I had a sit down with Conor and we (put in place) a training plan. Right now he’s doing base level cardio training so that when I get back we can go into specific training. We have a ‘secret dojo’ set up with a championship-level boxing ring that will exactly mirror the situation when it happens. Where my gym is, the guy who owns my gym, owns the entire estate, and there’s a building — I’m kinda giving away a secret here — there’s a building at the back and he’s just going to give it to me until the fight is on. So we’re getting that kitted out. We’re going to make it into kind of a stadium with a full-sized boxing ring. We’ll have weekly or biweekly sparring sessions where we invite people in to make it feel like a fight and bring in different sparring partners.
What makes the Mayweather fight competitive? Well, Mayweather’s Mayweather, in terms of defensive boxing — I’ve studied Mayweather, I find this ‘Philly shell’ fascinating, how he’s able to keep himself safe — but everyone can be beat. He’s had trouble in the past with southpaws. Pacquiao got some good shots off on him. There were moments in that fight where Pacquiao could have done some things a little different. The way he was able to tie Pacquiao up on the inside — he’s not going to do that to us. If he tries to tie us up in the clinch, that’s not going to work. And [McGregor] has the death touch. If that lands, I don’t care if you’re Mayweather, Juneweather, Julyweather … you’re still going to go down.
Coach Kavanagh says McGregor has started to put together the training agenda to fight Mayweather.
In my mind, it’s on. That’s the mentality we’re in. Like you said, there’s a lot of fingers in the pie on this one. There’s different promotions, different organizations, different commissions that are involved but as far as I’m concerned, I really believe it’s going to happen this year. That’s the mindset I have. Let the people in the suits worry about the paperwork. We’re training for it.
On the training program:
Boxing is one of the 10 skills you need for mixed martial arts. But now we’re only doing boxing so we can drop wrestling and jiu-jitsu and Thai boxing, we can just focus on the boxing. So of course we’re getting ready to fight arguably one of the best defensive boxers of all time, but the training will become simplified ’cause we only have to do boxing so it’s a new challenge I’m excited about.
In an interview with The Irish Mirror, Coach Kavanagh says McGregor wrote him an essay on everything he did wrong after knocking out Aldo for the world featherweight title.
When I meet someone in sport or business I’m always interested to find out, how did they get over their biggest loss? I’ve had plenty of losses and failures but it’s about what you do with them. You don’t see a loss or a failure as a reason to quit you see it as an opportunity to learn. Conor and I have done that since day one. We’ve had plenty of losses in the cage but we use them to improve ourselves, come back and have plenty of wins too. Certainly at the beginning if Conor had a loss he would treat it as a reason to quit and I’d have to drag him down from his house. But that doesn’t happen anymore. You see him at his last loss, as soon as the fight was over he was analysing what he did wrong. He was humble in defeat. We got back in the gym, got ourselves a four- month plan and showed the world what we can do with a loss. If I have a fighter and after a win they go on a bender for four-and-a-half weeks, I forget about them. They’re wasting my time. I always use this story that when Conor beat Aldo to unify the 145 level, he argues it was an 11- second fight but it was 13 seconds on the record book, one punch and it was over. But he’s the most self-critical fighter I’ve ever met, and that night we went out for a bit and when we came home he wrote me an essay on everything he’d done wrong. It was only a 13 second fight.
I know Michael a little bit personally and he’s got the ‘x’ factor. Smart, thinks fast, witty, dresses sharp even down to how he cornered Conor into agreeing to walk him out for his debut…..brilliant. Not only winner of countless boxing titles but also winner of Ireland’s sports personality of the year. This is not someone sitting around waiting for outside influences to ‘push’ him….he’s out there every day doing the damn pushing! He’s actively making himself the ‘money fight’, not moaning at promoters about wanting the ‘money fight’. Combat sports like boxing and mma need more like him.
Coach Kavanagh says he expects McGregor to fight the winner of the UFC 209 bout between Ferguson and Nurmagomedov.
I would love the challenge of it, for Conor to test himself in that area. I’ll be honest, right from the beginning I’ve been hearing ‘you can’t do this, you can’t do that’ … We’re kind of used to being told to what we can’t do, but we don’t pay too much attention to it, we just get on and make things happen. I’ve said it before, the Nate rematch interests me a lot because it’s one-one and how the styles match up. Almost on a par with that, not much difference, would be the winner of Khabib-Ferguson this weekend. I think Khabib does it, I think Khabib will be the winner, so I think Khabib will be the match-up out of that. I find it hard to imagine not seeing [McGregor back in MMA]. Even if and when the Mayweather fight was going to happen, and he got that out of the way. I know, like myself, I do believe his true love is free combat sports and there is no ‘free-er’ combat sport than mixed martial arts. I can’t imagine him not fighting the winner of [Khabib vs. Ferguson]. Now we gotta see what happens with the Mayweather talks and all that, but yeah, I do believe that will happen.
Kavanagh says he knew from the first fight that McGregor would become UFC world champion.
It was very obvious from early on that Conor had this unusual set of skills contained in the one person. It’s tempting to talk about Muhammad Ali when you talk about Conor just from the showman side of things. There is a certain set of skills, as Liam Neeson might say, that are required to become the no.1 in this world. And certainly being very good at the sport is a huge part of it. But to have the x-factor, to be able to have charisma, to be able to speak on the mic and be able to deal with the heavy media attention, that’s something that I don’t think you can be taught. That’s something that’s in somebody or it’s not. I’ve seen it before with guys who are incredible in the gym but the can’t do it on fight night or they can’t handle the pressures of dealing with a bunch of interviews and so on and so forth
Kavanagh says training for a Mayweather boxing match would be easier than the average MMA fight.
In a weird way, you’re getting prepared to fight one of the best boxers there’s ever been. But in another way, it would actually almost feel like a break for us because we wouldn’t have to keep up the other skill sets. In mixed martial arts your trying to work on seven or eight different skill sets. Whereas in boxing, it’s one…it’s just boxing. It’d almost be like a break to only have to work on one and not work on everything. If the deal is right and the two of them come to an agreement and that happens we’ll of course plan for that and bring in some of the experts. But I’ll still be playing my little role in the corner.
Kavanagh responds to Streep’s comments that MMA is “not an art”:
A lot has been made of Meryl Streep’s ‘calling out’ of Mixed Martial Arts as not being ‘the arts’. She’s 100% right, it’s sport. I was just impressed she said mixed martial arts and not ‘cage fighting’. People probably got a little defensive with the way she was clearly saying ‘the arts’ were so much superior to ‘sport’. What would we ever do without Hollywood!!? The great american writer Joseph Campbell said the closest he ever came to a truly spiritual experience was through athletics. I wouldn’t like to think of one activity better than the other – sport or art. Just do whatever you enjoy. I think people’s main issue with her teary well acted speech was that she tried to pass herself, and the rest of her ultra rich and ultra entitled liberal friends, off as ‘an outsider’. Yes Meryl, you’re just like an illegal immigrant or starving refugee. Fuck off. Just carry on adding to your 100s of millions you’ve earned from playing pretend. You’ve known nothing but extreme wealth and privilege your whole life, so don’t look down your nose at sport which has probably helped a lot more people than the expensive drama schools you attended. Happy Tuesday haha!
After a special event at the Royal College of Surgeons, in Dublin, where Professor Healy addressed more than 50 high-level MMA fighters on the dangers of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive degenerative disease found in athletes with a history of repetitive brain trauma. Kavanagh says that McGregor has concerns about the long-term implications of repeated blows to the head.
It’s a concern of every fighter. At that level of fighting the risk is very real. But I think you can add on two hands the number of clean head shots Conor has taken in 10 years of pro-fighting. His style of fighting answers that, because his style is not brawling. He doesn’t step in the pocket and exchange punches. His style is in and out – he’s very defensive. That style was born through not wanting to lose and not wanting to take head shots, and not wanting to damage the software. [The key is education] We can reach that lofty goal of this being the first generation with no incidents of CTE.
Kavanagh thanksThe MMA Hour and Helwani for awarding him the Coach of the Year in a Twitter video that goes awry at the end, as he falls off a Hoverboard.
Thank you so much for this great honour. I know the competition was tough after such a big year in MMA. I want you to know that winning these awards hasn’t changed anything for us — we’re still just a small humble team from Ireland.
Kavanagh says it’s bizarre that the new owners of UFC haven’t contacted McGregor yet.
He made it clear after his last fight that he’s keen to talk business with the UFC’s new owners,” he said. “I find it utterly bizarre that they’ve yet to make contact. Maybe they’re spending their time trying to get a solid framework in place. I’m not sure. It was much simpler in the old days in dealing with just Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta. Now you’re almost wondering if you have to ring Mark Wahlberg or one of the other investors. Maybe Conan O’Brien is the new matchmaker. Who knows? These are strange, but interesting, times. We’ll have to see how this plays out. Certainly as the most valuable athlete on the UFC roster, you would think that he’d be heavily involved in these things but that hasn’t been the case yet.
The UFC has been a mess for a while now. Not only for me, it’s been happening way before that. It embarrassed featherweight and now embarrasses lightweight. Khabib Nurmagomedov signed two contracts to fight for the title and still hasn’t. We also have Demian Maia waiting at welterweight and Ronaldo Jacare [Souza] is waiting for even longer than that. It’s cool for me, I was a dominant champion for a long time, but what about Jacare’s situation? He’s always winning and doesn’t get his title shot. They tell him he’ll fight for the title and he never does. And it seems he never will. It’s a mess…I knew I would be the champion and he knows what happened to me in that fight will never happen again. It was known I would be champion again so I don’t have a problem with the way it happened. I’ve always said that having the belt around my waist is all that matters. No matter what, I’m the champion. I don’t care about what his coach says. Who is his coach anyway? I don’t know who he is. Or him. They’re all pieces of shit.
Coach Kavanagh says McGregor was holding his hands behind his back during his UFC 205 fight with Alvarez due to an injury. He says McGregor’s right index knuckle was hurt during his UFC 202 fight with Nate Diaz, and that was his way of protecting it in training, and also has the added advantage of fooling his opponent into trying to hit his head.
He found that if he actually held his right hand behind his back, it kind of reminded him not to throw it as much. That’s why he started reaching back and actually grabbing his hand. It was almost like a mental note: take care of the right hand…If you put your hands down, an untrained person will try to swing at your head. It’s a base instinct — I want to punch the guy in the head. If you have a very high level of striking, boxing like Conor does, you understand rules like that. I don’t think others are kind of catching up to that level of skill.
Coach Kavanagh confirms McGregor and Mayweather are in talks for a potential boxing fight in 2017.
If the odds were good enough, I’d put a few quid on it for next year. I’m not breaking any news saying that there’s conversations going back and forth for the last year or so. Is it getting any close? I don’t know, but it certainly wouldn’t surprise me that it’s going to happen. He’s 49-0. I’m sure he wants that 50th fight. It’s a nice number. Right now, ask the average guy on the street, who do you want to see Mayweather fight, what fight’s going to get the most interest, and it would be a superfight with Conor. Certainly stranger things have happened in combat sports than a Mayweather-Conor fight. I wouldn’t be surprised by it, so who knows? It’s one of the many options that are there for Conor, so let’s see how the next couple of weeks go.
…I don’t see what other people are saying, ‘There’s no way Conor can touch this guy.’ There is. No one is perfect. There’s openings there. Of course, he’s a bigger man, he’s got more power and you’ve gotta be super careful. But Conor trains with big guys like this…He’s not enormous. He’s not some Goliath man. He’s a little bit bigger. Conor would have reach on him, he would have technique on him in the striking, for sure. He’d have to of course deal with that power. … I certainly don’t in my head go, ‘Oh my God, no. We couldn’t possibly beat him.’ It’s a doable fight.
John Kavanagh Knew Conor McGregor’s UFC 205 Fight Was 'Mismatch'
Kavanagh says he doubts there will be a Croke Park fight for McGregor, because pay-per-view fights are scheduled for 10pm in Las Vegas.
I doubt [there’ll be a fight in Croke Park] because it would have to be at 5am and I don’t think the authorities would allow it. Could you imagine an Irish crowd at 5am? Even the fight we just did was at 1am – we were walking out and there was people yawning in the changing rooms. At 1am your body starts to shut down and we were going out to fight…They always do it for Vegas. I don’t quite know why. I guess they’ve done the numbers and it all makes sense. It’s all down to pay-per-views. They did one in Sweden for a famous Swedish fighter. It was at 5.30am and there were people in the crowd fast asleep.
Kavanagh says he’s open to McGregor fighting anyone.
There’s a lot of fights I’d like to see. I think Canor is pound for pound the best unarmed combatant on the planet right now, regardless of what kind of combat sport it is. To me, it’s a real privilege to see him in action. I’d like to see him test different styles. Whether it’s Khabib the lightweight, whether it’s the trilogy fight with Nate, or the Aldo match at 145. Who knows with Conor? [Or Mayweather?] That would be great too. I’d be very curious to see that too. Bring them on.
When Kavanagh is asked about Alvarez employing similar tactics against McGregor as he did when he defeated Anthony Pettis, he says:
That would seem to be the smart money. The Pettis fight was a nice one for us to study, you know, he’s kind of a slick southpaw. The glaring difference would be that Pettis wouldn’t be known for fighting with his hands on the inside. Beautiful kicks. Eddie just smothered that. That’s not to say that Eddie doesn’t enjoy a brawl. He seems to. Anything I’ve heard from him, he seems to be very up for that. They’ve been studying Conor’s style of boxing. I’m looking at them doing a lot of pads and maybe they feel they do see a glaring hole there. Eddie does feel like he can expose him. I mean he’s coming off of a knockout victory of a tough guy [Rafael dos Anjos], so maybe they see that as their route to victory.
He disagrees with McGregor’s prediction that the Irishman will win in the first round:
I’ll go with 2nd round. I’m going to be conservative. I do think Round 1 will be quite a lot on the fence. But, it’s an exhausting style, especially the way Conor can defend himself on the fence, he doesn’t rely on muscle he relies on posture, which is not tiring. It just takes one break. Round 2 they start. The shot won’t be quite as fast. The muscles won’t be quite as energetic and he’s a slippery customer to try and hold for that length of time. So I think around about the eight-minute mark. That’s when it’ll happen.
In an interview with McMahon, Kavanagh outlines the different options open to McGregor after UFC 205.
To be honest, things change so rapidly, we are not too sure what the next step is going to be. Right now we are just going to focus on this contest. Let’s get this positive result. [However,] there are so many options for Conor right now. The [Floyd] Mayweather fight is still kind of hanging in there. [Conor] is the [145-pound] champion. In a couple of weeks he will be the [155-pound] champion. The Nate [Diaz] trilogy is there. Maybe going back to [145lbs]. So, a lot of things are up in the air. I’m sure Conor will have an interesting announcement to make after the fight. So, stay tuned.
On the possibility of Mayweather-McGregor fight:
There is only one way that Floyd would step in and that would be pure boxing. Absolutely, that’s the only way.
Coach Kavanagh says McGregor will give ‘positive news’ after UFC 205.
I’ve heard him say a few different things and they’re all positive. Whatever way he goes with this, it’s only positive. Conor has such a hyperactive mind and a hyperactive body, you’d never know what’s going to happen with him. But for sure it’s a positive announcement. I know people are going to enjoy what he has to say.
John Kavanagh on Conor McGregor's impending announcement
Kavanagh says that a couple of months before McGregor joined the UFC, someone tried to sign him as his manager to a very restrictive deal.
That would have cost him around 20-25% of his earnings in return for something like €1,000 a month. Conor was rushing to sign it, saying: ‘I’m getting a thousand euros for doin nuthin!’ I begged him not to sign – I literally ripped the deal away from him – and to this day I bring it up every now and again: ‘Do you remember that?’ Because Conor will still get a contract, flick straight to the end, and look at the number without knowing what he’s committing to…He was on the dole, earning €100 a fight and training at the height of winter in a cold gym. His annual earnings for that five-year period was something like €1,500 a year! There was no money. Now it’s a 10-car cavalcade wherever we go, but back then there was just the two of us.
Shortly after, McGregor earned a €60,000 fight bonus for his first round finish of Marcus Brimage, and is now the highest paid UFC athlete.
Kavanagh talks about the first time McGregor came to his gym.
Well, it was supposed to be a spar, but it was a fight. Owen [Reddy] was the top dog back then and the new guy [McGregor] wanted to test himself…Owen had been with me a long time — he was my boy — but this new kid moved in a certain way. He was a southpaw, a good boxer and he just had a way about him that made you go: ‘What’s going to happen here?’ And he caught Owen with a good shot and put him down. [And then he floored Aisling Daly], which sounds worse than it was. He wasn’t hitting her in the head or anything, but just happened to throw a body shot that hit her in the sweet spot, the solar plexus, and put her down…I got a little emotional because Ash had been with me a long time and the other guys would look after her. But this new guy had come in and put her down, and my protective nature kicked in. I was still fighting at that stage, or hadn’t stopped that long, so I put the gloves on… actually, he has corrected me on that and says it was bare knuckles. But I held him down and beat the shit out of him, without putting too fine a point on it… I kept hitting him in the body until he couldn’t breathe and then I looked at him: ‘What’s it going to be? We can train or we can fight?’ And he was OK from the next day.
Kavanagh talks about going to J-Lo’s party with McGregor and Ronaldo. When McGregor was taken away by Lopez for a dance, Ronaldo questioned the coach.
Ronaldo comes over and tells me that he reads everything I write and follows me on Instagram. I’m thinking ‘Wait until I tell my dad about this’…[Even though I moved to another part of the party] he kept coming over, and then he would drift away, and then I’d be in another part [of the house] and he’d come over again…This guy is just like Conor. Just a one-track mind, no interest in anything else. Civilians would call them obsessed or say there was something wrong with them, but you can’t get to that level unless you have that personality.
Coach Kavanagh says that McGregor will decide on his next fight when he returns to Ireland in the next few days. On the potential of a fight with Alvarez:
It’s a great fight…It’s a pretty straightforward fight for Conor to be honest. Will he get it? I can tell you that we’re in talks. It will be decided whether they are going to go with that fight within days…If the next fight is for the lightweight strap, they will take the featherweight belt off Conor. I think that’s a given. I guess, the little bit of consolation Conor will take from that is that it will be two guys he has beaten fighting for the vacant featherweight title…It will probably be (Max) Holloway and (Jose) Aldo. He beat one in 13 seconds and one on one leg. It’s hard to say that on paper he isn’t the champion when he’s beaten the two guys who are fighting for his belt. He’ll probably do the same to the lightweight division.
At the BAMMA 26 press conference in Dublin, Kavanagh says that he used to struggle to sell ticket for McGregor fights.
You know sometimes I laugh because I used to run small amateur shows, well they were pro fights back then but they really were amateur shows, and I remember I had a show with Gunnar Nelson, Conor McGregor, Aisling Daly and Paddy Holohan and it was a tenner for a ticket and I struggled selling them. I’d probably sell them out now pretty handy, but what I’d say to fans now is [BAMMA 26] is your chance to look at future stars [in Irish MMA]. For me BAMMA is more or less the top show in Europe, and you don’t have to be bowing down to the UFC, because as far as I’m concerned, these fighters have skill levels that are as good as anyone, regardless if they fight in the UFC or BAMMA.
In reply to a screenshot of an article where Kavanagh said he’d prefer for McGregor to go to 155lb and fight Alvarez for the lightweight championship, and in addition predicted a second round knockout, Henry says:
John Kavanagh, for a jiu-jitsu coach who can’t event teach his student Conor McGregor how to tie his belt and just got subbed quick you have a lot to say. PS give the proceeds of your book to the striking coach, he deserves it.
@SandhuMMA it won't. I'll focus on my fighter. I'm not a fighter and I'm not interested in headlines, I'm just a coach doing my best.
Coach Kavanagh confirms to MMA Hour that McGregor did not injure his foot or leg during his fight with Diaz. McGregor landed 40 kicks to the leg of Diaz throughout the 25 minutes.
It’s a bad bruise and it’s very, very painful but there’s no damage. He never mentioned it [that he was injured] but I saw. If I remember correctly, in the third round there were one or two where Nate did turn his knee out and started checking them. And the range was a little bit wrong so he was kind of slapping with the foot and caught Nate’s knee. I just remember seeing that but I knew with adrenaline and with his mindset, it wasn’t going to make a difference. His shin could be clean snapped and he wasn’t going to stop for the five rounds. We discussed it as well. He knew he was going to bang up his left leg. That was going to be the sacrifice. It was going to be a bruised leg but victorious.
Kavanagh says that, after his loss to Sitenkov in 2008, McGregor stopped attending SBG and went missing for a few weeks. Concerned by his behaviour, McGregor’s mother, Margaret, called Kavanagh to try and get him to convince her son to return to training and steer him back on track.
Yeah (it was big). Maybe you and me wouldn’t be talking now (if it didn’t happen). At that stage, he’d already disappeared for four or six weeks. I kind of just moved on with what I was doing and sort of half forgot about him if I’m being honest. Over the years, I must have had what must be over tens of thousands of guys come through my doors at this stage. You get these little flames of enthusiasm and sparks of possibilities but then they fizzle out for the 99.9-per-cent. So, I think I was already putting him down to being one of those could’ve been type people. And maybe if I hadn’t of driven up that night to try give us one more chance, maybe he would’ve been a has been and be that guy on the bar stool talking about ‘I could’ve been that guy, I could’ve done this.’ So yeah, I’m glad his mother called me and I’m of course very happy that I went up there and we worked it out and he came back. And since then, we’ve been a fairly rock-solid team.
In an interview on Fox Sports, Coach Kavanagh says McGregor is looking to make a statement.
I really feel it has to be a very dominant performance to make the type of statement that Conor wants to make. For me, round 1 was quite one sided. I’m pretty sure anybody would have scored that round for Conor. That’s the way I see it going this time. Even more in Conor’s favor, because there was some exchanges in that first round that he was still figuring out which way Nate moves. Whereas now it’s been a fairly obsessive couple of months where we feel we have a very strong game plan to counter everything he does. I expect it to be one sided, but how long as it lasts, it’s difficult to predict. But as long as it does last, I expect it to be one sided.
Conor McGregor's Coach John Kavanagh Is Looking For Dominance At UFC 202
Kavanagh says he knew McGregor was special, after seeing him train at SBG Ireland’s gym as an 18-year-old novice to mixed martial arts.
It was very obvious from early on that Conor had this unusual set of skills contained in the one person. It’s tempting to talk about Muhammad Ali when you talk about Conor just from the showman side of things. There is a certain set skills, as Liam Neeson might say, that are required to become the no.1 in this world. And certainly being very good at the sport is a huge part of it. But to have the x-factor, to be able to have charisma, to be able to speak on the mic and be able to deal with the heavy media attention, that’s something that I don’t think you can be taught. That’s something that’s in somebody or it’s not. I’ve seen it before with guys who are incredible in the gym but the can’t do it on fight night or they can’t handle the pressures of dealing with a bunch of interviews and so on and so forth.
Despite his admiration for Aldo’s performance, Kavanagh says he does not expect a different outcome when Aldo meets McGregor, most likely in November. He also expresses his regret at the fact that Edgar was unable to get the job done against Aldo.
Probably I had a little personal vision or dream of it being Edgar going in and doing amazing against Aldo…It would have been just amazing. As storylines go, that would have been really, really exciting. Really, really interesting. But I guess Aldo showed he had ‘The Answer’ again, and I think Aldo — I said this in the lead-up to Conor’s fight — is one of the best in the world at beating short wrestlers…There are certain things he’s doing that are really, really brilliant, but then on the other side I look at it and go, ‘It’s pretty much the same guy that [Conor] beat the last time’. It’s not the most unpredictable style — Muay Thai, defensive wrestling. It just looked a very similar guy…I think [Aldo] has improved a lot at beating that sort of guy again, but Conor’s not a short wrestler. I’m sure Aldo will have a more tempered approach the next time. I think the first time he did certain things that I don’t think he will do the second time. It will be very hard to beat 13 seconds the second time but he will definitely want to show his dominance and that it wasn’t a lucky punch.
Kavanagh says that he expects McGregor to win against Diaz so comprehensively that another rematch won’t be required.
I want this win to be in such a way that there are no questions. If this is a back-and-forth contest, if Conor ekes out a decision, then it has to be [a rubber match]. Nate obviously did fantastic in their first match. Conor accepted the change of weight class and style with very short notice, but you’ve got to give massive props to Nate. He accepted it on very short notice [too]. Now let’s do it where both guys have had months and months of preparation, and there can be no questions asked. And let’s make the victory in such a way that no one can say, ‘Well, he was close, he was close, let’s do the best out of three’. Neither can bitch or moan. Conor can’t say anything about it — ‘Well, new style of opponent, new weight class’ — and Nate can’t say anything about, ‘Well, it was on nine day’s notice’. No. You both knew who you were fighting, you both knew at what weight class, you both had months of preparation. Who won that one? I want that to be decisive. Now, in saying that, maybe there still is cause for a rubber match, but I think it’ll be done in such a way that there won’t be.
Coach Kavanagh says McGregor is reaching new levels of training in Las Vegas.
If I was to sum it up, there’s order to this training camp. There’s no chaos. Everything is very disciplined, very military style. Beforehand, it was kind of done on Conor’s whim, how he felt on a certain day. This training camp has been based on cycles. Every day, we start at 1 p.m. sharp. In the evenings, we do cardio training. Everything is measured, nothing is left to ‘How you feeling?’ We have a performance doctor taking care of the performance side of things, I’m taking care of the fighting side of things, everybody is working together and nothing we’ve done before comes close to comparison for this one…he last couple of weeks there has been a real level of growth to what he has been able to do. Now, he really is a truly elite athlete. He has always been an incredible fighter, but now, training like a true Olympian-style champion — for me, that’s a scary combination.
Kavanagh says that the rumoured $100 million fight between McGregor and Mayweather would happen, but only if revenues were split evenly between both men.
There was talk that Conor would get $7 million and Floyd would get the rest of it. It will be an even share or Conor will not do it . . . There is no one generating the type of media that Conor i. It would have to be an even split. Conor is not going to take it if Floyd is getting more than him. Floyd needs Conor more than Conor needs Floyd right now.
Kavanagh said he believed that McGregor could beat Mayweather, despite the boxer having a record of 49 wins and no defeats.
Floyd is amazing. He is incredible. I don’t think there is a boxer who could beat him. He has figured out boxing, but Conor doesn’t move like a boxer.
Kavanagh says he expects McGregor to ask for an equity stake in UFC if it is sold. Kavanagh said “it is true” that the UFC was for sale, but he does not know the details.
Conor will have thought of this and I am sure, when he is sitting down with his new overlords, he will have that conversation…What will happen when it is sold, if it is sold? Short answer is, I don’t know what will happen the daily operations of it . . . it is a truly global company now. Like any big takeover, there will be a period of finding your feet again.
According to an excerpt from Kavanagh’s upcoming autobiography, the lack of cutting weight caused a lack of focus in McGregor’s team leading up to UFC 196.
Not having to cut weight for the fight against Diaz was supposedly helpful, but in hindsight it was undoubtedly a hindrance. Cutting weight may not be much fun, but it does serve as a reminder that you’re preparing for a fight. It focuses the mind and has been an enormous part of what we’ve been doing. Without that ritual, things were just weird. It left us all in an unusual state of mind. The routine we had established was suddenly absent. The need to cut weight gets the fighter in the zone and lets them know that a fight is on the horizon. If a person is starving, they’re in survival mode. It focuses the mind and taps into the reptilian part of the brain. When Conor is cutting weight, he views his opponent as an obstacle in the way of his next meal. It’s a primal thing. On the other hand, when you’ve eaten a good dinner, all you want to do is relax in front of the TV. The fire in your belly is replaced by food. Being stuffed isn’t conducive to maintaining a competitive mindset.
Kavanagh says another mistake was to stay in Ireland as long as they did, delaying the trip to the United States until just two weeks prior to fight night.
Two weeks isn’t quite long enough to spend in the US before a fight like that. We need at least three, ideally four…There were mistakes made and, as the coach, I’ll take ownership of them. We should have travelled out sooner. We should have maintained the same level of meticulous preparation and competitive mindset that we had become accustomed to. We won’t be tucking into desserts, driving around in flashy cars and fucking about.
Kavanagh says McGregor will definitely fight again.
Conor’s going to fight again. He’s going to fight at 201 or 202, or 203 – whatever the deal might be. We’ll see what’s next you know when that plays out. 200 is the fight that everybody has been looking forward to for a long time. It is what it is, the show is going to roll on and Conor will fight again.
Kavanagh says he did not know McGregor had announced he was back on UFC 200, until he saw McGregor’s tweet.
We left Iceland very early this morning and we ended up getting separated, going different ways. I turned my phone on. I was with Gunni and Paddy Holohan and thing’s started going crazy, I saw this message. I didn’t know about this and neither did his manager, so it was news to both of us when we saw it. I haven’t spoken to Conor since….I presume I’m going to see Conor at training and find out the exact news, but that’s how I heard about it…Things seem to be coming down to… I guess ego isn’t the right word, but at some stage you’ve got to see that it’s pointless. It upset so many fans that wanted to see this fight and ignore the kind of numbers that it brought in over a press conference where it tends to be more or less the same questions asked every time. It’s not the same for Conor to have to travel half way across the world when others only have to go down the road.
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