Conor McGregor’s head coach John Kavanagh is notoriously a man a few words. The polar opposite of McGregor, Kavanagh spends as little time in front of the camera as he can preferring for his fighter’s performances to speak for him. Ahead of UFC 264, Kavanagh granted an interview to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto to talk about the upcoming fight and McGregor’s evolution. When asked about preparations for the fight, Kavanagh began by acknowledging that the camp for UFC 264 was different than the camp the team used to prepare for Poirier at UFC 257.
“I feel like every answer is a cliche. Yeah. He’s focused. He’s ready. Training camp is perfect. No, but it’s, I feel this one’s a little bit different. Yeah. We all came out here without our significant others which is different from the last one [camp]. We all had our families there. You know, we trained as hard as we could, but I do think it’s a little bit different. We decided to go away for months on end with nobody around except a bunch of men and try to bash each other in the head every day, all day. And that’s all we’ve been doing. And, uh, so I’m looking forward to it … but it’s been brutal in parts, and I kind of joke saying we spent years trying to civilize him [McGregor] and then the last couple of months we’ve turned him back into a caveman.”
John Kavanagh believes Conor McGregor has evolved yet again preparing for UFC 264
Kavanagh recognized that changes need to be made for this camp. The team wants to avoid the same outcome from UFC 257. Surprising no one, he admitted that the focus in the last camp was looking past Poirier for a rumored boxing match against Manny Pacquiao.
“An argument could be made [the camp was] a little bit boxing heavy with looking to the future rather than being prepared for an MMA fight. But look, I’m not going to dwell on it. Not gonna start, you know, looking back and with hindsight, trying to say what went right, what went wrong. A lot of things went right with it as well.”
Still, Kavanagh believes in his approach and that of McGregor. Constantly changing, Kavanagh believes that we will see a better Conor McGregor at UFC 264.
“You know, I’ve been with Connor a while now. His evolution is continuous and we try different approaches and I feel he’s gone back to the best approach. Now it is reminiscent, he mentioned the Eddie [Alvarez] fight in New York, and I feel the build-up for this has been similar to that one. So I think you’re going to see the best version of him.”
As the interview continued, Kavanagh addressed the biggest elephant in the room. The calf kicks that seemed to make all of the difference in the last-second fight of this trilogy.
“They [Poirier’s team] spotted something and they exploited it and well done, you know. But that’s being solved, no more card tricks.”
How do Cavanagh and the team plan to address the kicks? Kavanagh had a simple answer, “If you want to see how we’ll deal with them, you’re going to have to pay for that.”