- Conor McGregor’s coach John Kavanagh talked about the former UFC double champ’s looming return
- Kavanagh doesn’t have a preferred opponent but named a few fighters who could interest “The Notorious”
Conor McGregor’s longtime coach John Kavanagh is very confident about his pupil’s UFC return this year. He hinted at a potential deal looming and named a couple of opponents “The Notorious” could choose from.
Speaking to The MMA Hour, a zealous Kavanagh said he had just learned that McGregor’s manager Audie Attar is already involved and there are already some progress taking place as they spoke.
“I’d be willing to bet my house on it,” Kavanagh said of McGregor’s return. “I was actually just chatting with him yesterday or the day before and then [his manager] Audie [Attar] was in town… I think there’s some interesting negotiations going along now [with] Audie. I absolutely can’t say anything beyond that, but I’m very, very confident that we’ll see Conor back in the octagon this year.”
Conor needs to be motivated first
As expected, Kavanagh was then asked to at least name a possible opponent for McGregor. The coach said it will all depend on who could keep the former UFC two-division champ motivated to train as it is the most important thing at this point.
“I’m asked this so often and I have to be honest when I say I really don’t mind,” Kavanagh explained. “What matters to me is that, let’s say I’m seeing Conor this week and we’re chatting and he says a few names and I see a name particularly gets the eyes open, particularly gets his pacing up and down the living room and showing me what he’s going to do and what he’s not going to do. That would be absolutely the most important thing for me, is that it’s a name that’s going to excite him.”
He continued, “Because for Conor, for training for this next fight, he’s definitely got to find something that’s massively motivating to him to get him out of the silk pants and into the sweaty gym. What’s it going to be? A couple million more? Is that really going to motivate him? I don’t think so. He has a couple championship belts. Is that it? I don’t think so. So I think it’s more going to be a particular opponent, a particular skill set and how it matches up against him.”
A couple of good names
The UFC’s lightweight division is stacked. Michael Chandler is evidently down to welcome McGregor in his return, while former 155-pound king Rafael Dos Anjos insists he’s been ready to take “The Notorious” out ever since the first time they were slated for a fight.
However, Kavanagh doesn’t have a specific preferred opponent at this point, but he thinks Nate Diaz, Justin Gaethje, and Chandler could make the cut. On the other hand, another fight with Dustin Poirier doesn’t sound too enticing.
“You’ve got the great Nate Diaz is obviously in there,” Kavanagh said. “Justin Gaethje would be a very interesting matchup, somebody he hasn’t fought before. The [Dustin] Poirier fight, we’ve done that so many times at this stage and it’s just a weird one. Michael Chandler, a great fighter, a great athlete. They’re all brilliant. They’re all going to bring something different to the contest.”
“What I would be looking for would be the one name that gets Conor moving,” he pointed out. “Gets him off his stool, gets him moving around and gets him excited. Some of the names I’ve heard him mention it’s like, ‘Oh yeah, I’d fight him,’ but if I see that level of lack of interest, I’d be nervous that won’t get him through 12 weeks of being in a very tough environment where if it’s a name that is exciting then training is fun and training is easy.”
McGregor last fought at UFC 264 where he suffered a terrifying leg injury and lost to Poirier. He hasn’t tasted victory since stopping Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone at UFC 246. Nevertheless, the Irish MMA superstar’s stock has remained high and fans seem to be still excited to see him back inside the Octagon.