Staying on in Dublin after Coldplay’s sold out Croke Park gig on Saturday night, Martin visits Straight Blast Gym on the Naas Road for a private training session with Kavanagh, before downing a pint at McDowell’s pub in Inchicore. Kavanagh Instagrams himself posing with Martin:
Good training today with my boy Chris Martin @coldplay kicks like a donkey but needs bit of work on his uppercuts.
He also shares a Facebook post with many Coldplay-related puns.
In an interview in The 42, Coach Kavanagh says McGregor is not using a specialised boxing coach, and that only he and Owen Roddy are involved in training. Together they will McGregor was on course to have completed the equivalent of 44 full boxing bouts by the time he climbs through the ropes at the T-Mobile Arena.
It’s just me and Owen. We’re the only trainers involved. You know, we thought about getting a boxing trainer involved, but we don’t have five years to prepare for this, we had – I don’t know – 11, 12 weeks. So if we brought someone else in, there’s the whole thing of trying to fit them into the way we do things. And at this stage, Conor’s not learning how to jab. He knows how to throw a jab. We kicked the idea around, and we decided, ‘You know what? We’ve gotten this far together, we seem to have a formula that works, let’s keep going with what we have.
In an interview with The 42, Kavanagh says McGregor was upset about not adding Dublin to the world promo tour.
[Wembley is not close to Ireland!] It’s not. I don’t know why it’s not coming to Dublin. If I say the Americans are idiots, I can see the headline! But it was very, very short-sighted. And it’s typical of American promotions, in my opinion. It’s like the UFC, when you go to Sweden and you do the walk-out time to suit people on the west coast of America. It’s ridiculous! If [Alexander] Gustafsson is fighting in Sweden, he should be walking out at 9:30pm Swedish time. And I see this as being that same short-sightedness, on behalf of some Americans… I’ll tone it down a bit!..You know, it’s a case of, ‘Where’s Ireland? Ah, that’s the UK, isn’t it? Let’s stick it in London’. And we were like, ‘No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no!’ They just saw it as a bigger audience. What’s Dublin got, 1.2 million people? And London has, what, 10 million? But who cares? Wherever you put it – let’s say they put it in a 10,000 stadium – okay, well that’s 10,000 people in London, but it would have been 10,000 people in Dublin. You would have easily filled the 3Arena, and then everybody in London would tune in anyway and watch it on Youtube. Absolute short-sightedness. They just think Ireland, UK, same thing. ‘Ah, it’s Europe’. It really bugged me, and I know Conor wasn’t over the moon about it either.
I think Marc Goddard should be the referee. We’re already agreeing to boxing rules, boxing fight, boxing ring — everything is done boxing. So, how about an MMA referee that will understand the inside fighting that will go into this fight?
Kavanagh says he would like to see both Taylor and Conlan on the undercard of McGregor-Mayweather.
I’ve seen a lot of speculation and I think it would be crazy of the promoters not to put on the likes of Katie Taylor and Michael Conlan…That just seems like a no brainer to me. Why wouldn’t you have a big America vs Ireland? It would generate such interest.
Coach Kavanagh says he is confident that McGregor will return to MMA after his fight with Floyd Mayweather.
I would say the same thing about him taking this fight. It’s not money that’s motivating him any more. He could very easily make similar money from doing some movies or some endorsements. It’s the challenge. That’s why he’s in the gym laughing every day. If he left the gym now and stopped fighting, what would he do with his free time? You can only sit in one car at a time, you can only have one meal at a time. Eventually you want to do something that’s enjoyable to you, and that would be Conor drifting back into the gym…The motivation for this fight was not money — although it’s quite nice to be well paid for what you do — it was the challenge. And to be told again that it is impossible to do what he’s clearly about to do.. Money will not be the reason he will not do MMA again. He’s said very clearly to me ‘Get ready, we’ll be back in the cage in December’.
On The MMA Hour, Coach Kavanagh says McGregor’s training is proceeding well.
We have two more weeks in Ireland, then the guys will head to Las Vegas. We’ll then have six week in Vegas before the fight, but I watched the session today and said we would be ready in three weeks…We’ve always done best when everybody is just mocking the idea of an unknown Dublin guy saying he’s going to take on the whole UFC roster and win the belt. Those challenges seem to bind us even closer than we already are. I’m really seeing that spirit lit up in the team. It’s always there, but for whatever reason, because we’re being laughed at, because we’re being mocked, it’s making us even stronger.
Coach John Kavanagh: Conor McGregor, Team at our Best when ‘We’re Being Mocked’
In an article for The42, Coach Kavanagh gives his thoughts on the McGregor-Mayweather fight.
On one of my first trips to Las Vegas with Conor McGregor, probably back in 2014, I recall him mentioning the possibility of a fight against Floyd Mayweather. I stopped doubting him a long time ago at this stage, but I remember at the time laughing it off as nothing more than a novel idea that could never possibly become a reality. Now here we are and it’s just over nine weeks away…We’re in the midst of three good weeks of training here in Ireland, before departing for Las Vegas in mid-July. I believe there will be quite a large media world tour squeezed in there as well.
He talks about the mural:
I wanted to put something suitable on the wall because Conor is a big believer in visualisation and manifesting what you can conceive into reality. That’s the shot we believe will win the fight for Conor and it’s now there for us to see whenever we train.
Mayweather has been in the boxing world for his entire career and everyone he’s faced has moved in a certain way that he’s pre-conditioned to handle. Now he’s going up against a guy who doesn’t follow any set patterns, who can deploy a variety of different styles of fighting and is not one bit intimidated. Conor is — as we all are here — 100% confident in victory. That kind of person is very difficult to deal with…We’re not going over to Las Vegas to make up the numbers on 26 August. When this contest takes place, we’ll be 100% ready — physically and mentally — and nothing other than victory will be acceptable. We’re looking forward to shocking the world — again.
Thornton, who founded SBG Gym in 1992 and who trained Kavanagh, talks about Kavanagh’s influence on the gym, and about his influence on McGregor.
Conor has the advantage as the underdog. It’s a role he occupies well. He has the advantage as the much younger man. Conor has the advantage as the underdog. It’s a role he occupies well. He has the advantage as the much younger man. He has the advantage as a southpaw, something that’s troubled Mayweather before. He has the advantage in that, coming from an MMA background he may bring some tactics and strategies Mayweather is unfamiliar with. And above all else, he has the advantage in that he has a coach named John Kavanagh in his corner. Everything John’s done has been good for everyone in SBG. It’s a loyal tribe, and he’s an impressive general.
Roddy, McGregor’s striking coach, says that he will be on duty at McGregor’s side during the Mayweather fight, and that the fighter will also be supported by Lovov, his sparring partner, and coach Kavanagh.
At the moment, it’s going to be me, John, possibly Artem and I think there’s four. Obviously he’ll have to get his own cut man and stuff like that. He hasn’t sorted that just yet. But it’ll definitely be myself, John and Artem at the moment…We’re not bringing anybody in as of yet, but who knows down the line…We’re gonna head over the states in the next couple of weeks. But at the moment, we’re in Dublin, we’re all working together. We came up with a game plan that we think can shock the world and we’re gonna stick to that for the time being.
Previously unreleased footage of McGregor entering the arena before his March 2016 UFC 196 loss to Nate Diaz is released. As McGregor heads for the octagon, draped in the Irish tricolour, to the sounds of Sinéad O’Connor’s Foggy Dew, he says:
Sing to me Sinéad. Sing me into war.
Coach Kavanagh issues encouragement to his fighter before the walk is made.
He shouldn’t have asked for it. Now he’s gonna get it.
McGregor lost to a rear naked chokehold towards the end of the second round.
Unseen footage Conor McGregor backstage at UFC 196 and John Kavanagh advice
In a column for The 42, Kavanagh says he has no respect for Mayweather and his gym’s training practices.
When I was in Australia in April, a lot was made of the fact that I highlighted Mayweather’s history of domestic violence during an interview. I’m not sure why people felt this was such a big deal, given that the man has already been convicted of beating up women. That’s a fact. I have absolutely no time for any man with a track record of such behaviour. In addition to that, from what I’ve seen of his gym, it appears to be the type of atmosphere in which bullies thrive. As many people will know, being bullied is what originally led me to martial arts. I’ve sought to create an atmosphere in my gym where people who have been victims of bullying can feel safe. In Mayweather’s gym, the better fighter bullies his training partner. But that’s not how it should work. The better fighter should always be conscious of their duty to pass on their expertise and help their training partners to grow. It should never be a competition in the gym. To me, Mayweather is a lowlife. He’s a guy I’d never want to have any contact with. Regardless of the outcome of this fight, I won’t be shaking his hand.
In a column for The 42, Kavanagh talks about the fight preparations and says that McGregor will fight under boxing rules at 145 pounds.
That fight is close to being agreed and it will be at a weight very close to 145 pounds — maybe just a couple of pounds above that — so Conor will show once again that making that weight, if necessary, isn’t an issue for him. Everything has been agreed from Conor’s perspective, from numbers to ruleset (pure boxing). I don’t know what’s taking Mayweather so long to sign the contract but we’re 100% ready to go. The ball is in his court now. We’re training for the fight — September has been mentioned — so we’re just waiting for the news with each passing day. The experts may not be giving Conor much of a chance, but I wouldn’t allow myself to be involved in preparing any fighter for a contest if I didn’t think we could win. I know a lot of people are dismissing it as merely a money-grab or a spectacle. If it purely was that, I’d wish Conor well but I wouldn’t be part of it…I believe he can do it and Conor is 100% sure about that outcome.
Kavanagh says he was initially skeptical about McGregor taking on Mayweather.
When I first sat with him and he started explaining the Mayweather fight, it made no sense to me. By the end of the half-hour conversation, he had me shadowboxing him in the room, watching boxing videos…[After Conor and the UFC come to their agreement] it became a lot more real to me. I was enjoying the buildup, the talk, the idea of it. But it wasn’t until Conor messaged me and said, ‘It’s done, I’ve signed,’ that I was like, ‘Oh, OK. We actually are boxing.’…There could still be negotiations going on four weeks out, but the big mistake would be to mentally put off the heavy training until every detail is agreed upon. We are training now. We’re ready for that date in the fall, whenever that might be. We’ll let the lawyers and suits deal with the nuances of who gets this and who gets that. Conor is a fighter. I am his coach. We’ll focus on the contest at hand.
Kavanagh says McGregor will find it tough to get a fair boxing referee.
If I’m speaking plainly, and I don’t know how much trouble this will get me in, I think we’re going to have a hard time finding a fair referee and a fair set of judges. It will be very difficult for a 50- to 60-year-old boxing referee to not go into this bout a little bit biased. Actually, I’ll throw this out there, I think [U.K.-based MMA referee] Marc Goddard should be the referee. We’re already agreeing to boxing rules, boxing fight, boxing ring — everything is done boxing. So, how about an MMA referee that will understand the inside fighting that will go into this fight?
Kavanagh says he is already working with McGregor to prepare for his bout with Mayweather.
I was enjoying the buildup, the talk, the idea of it. But it wasn’t until Conor messaged me and said, ‘It’s done, I’ve signed,’ that I was like, ‘Oh, OK. We actually are boxing…I have a pretty good idea on how I see the fight going. Over the next three to four months, we need to put that plan into action. Drill it. See how it works in the gym. Mix and match the plan until we have it right for the night of the fight…[There will be a boxing expert on the team] 100 percent. And the reason why, is that I want to know how boxing people think. It’s not throwing punches. Owen Roddy has that. I need a voice from that world to bounce some of the ideas I have about this contest off of. How he thinks a referee might see something, how a judge sees something. That’s the reason to have someone from boxing, as opposed to learning how to box…We’re not going to spend 10 to 12 years doing something one way and then, because it’s a boxing fight, change everything for three months and beat the best defensive boxer of all time. No. We’ve got to come at this with an MMA striking strategy. Of course, hands only, but maybe there are things we can do from an MMA perspective, which, if people study boxing from the early 20th century, those things were a bigger part in the boxing game than they are today. We’re bringing an old-school boxing approach.
Kavanagh says McGregor will not be using boxing trainer Freddie Roach for the Mayweather fight.
I will say this: Mayweather has proven himself to be perfect against guys who have trained purely in boxing. I was asked very early on, ‘Are you going to bring in Freddie Roach? He’s the greatest boxing trainer in the world right now.’ OK. I’m an evidence-based guy. I don’t make decision based on emotions. Has Freddie trained somebody to fight Mayweather before? Yes. And a southpaw. A hard-hitting southpaw! And the plan didn’t work…Obviously, Freddie Roach is incredible. I’ve been trying to immerse myself in the boxing world, and Freddie has been called one of the last great guys to understand it all — trainer, cutman, psychologist to the young fighters, technician — but he did come up short in his approach to Mayweather.
Coach Kavanagh says Holloway will have no trouble beating Aldo in the upcoming main event at UFC 212 to become the undisputed featherweight champion.
I’ve said it since Conor fought him: apart from Conor, Max Holloway is the second-best guy at 145 [pounds]. I think Holloway will win convincingly. There are a lot of similarities in both of their styles, in terms of being busy strikers who are used to guys trying to take them down. Max is maybe a little bit more dangerous when it comes to submissions. He’ll go for guillotines and stuff on takedowns, whereas Aldo is almost exclusively about defending the takedown. I think Max has grown a lot too. Even since Conor fought him he has improved. Aldo tends to do better against short, stocky wrestlers. He seems to have the perfect game for that. I don’t know if there’s somebody of that style who could possibly beat him. He’s almost perfect for that style. But here he is again, in against somebody he very rarely faces: a taller, striking-based opponent. We might see Aldo having to struggle and look for takedowns. I actually think that will be Aldo’s approach, that he’ll try to grapple. But I think Holloway will either defend them, make him uncomfortable with submission attempts, or else he’ll be able to keep it on the feet and win a decision. I think that’s how it’ll play out: Holloway by decision.
Audio recordings from the corners of the McGregor-Aldo fight at UFC 194 are released, showing the contrasting attitudes of the fighters. While the Brazilian’s corner repeatedly tells Aldo to calm down, the fighter says:
Stay calm, go calm. You are the champion. That is you.
As Aldo enters the octagon, an Irish voice that is likely to be Coach Kavanagh says:
Welcome to hell…He doesn’t wanna be in here.
Unseen footage proves Conor McGregor made Aldo emotional on fight night.. 'Welcome to hell Aldo'
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.
Kavanagh says the way McGregor’s belt was taken from him was badly handled.
For me personally, I was very disappointed by the way [the UFC] went about doing it. It was a very messy set of circumstances which led to doing it. They lost a main event and then they haphazardly threw together a new main event. They felt they had to make this for a title in order for it to sell so they brought in another interim title that Jose Aldo already has and then bumped Jose Aldo up to the current undisputed champion, which just seems ridiculous to me. Conor has only been 11 months since he won that title. There have been many, many examples of fighters waiting 15 months, 18 months before defending it. He’s 11 months and they stripped him of it. I thought it was very shortsighted by the UFC how they went about doing it.
…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'